Morality Plays. Morality play, also called morality , an allegorical drama popular in Europe especially during the 15th and 16th centuries, in which the characters personify moral qualities (such as charity or vice) or abstractions (as death or youth) and in which moral lessons are taught.
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Morality play, also called morality , an allegorical drama popular in Europe especially during the 15th and 16th centuries, in which the characters personify moral qualities (such as charity or vice) or abstractions (as death or youth) and in which moral lessons are taught.
Together with the mystery play and the miracle play, the morality play is one of the three main types of vernacular drama produced during the Middle Ages. The action of the morality play centres on a hero, such as Mankind, whose inherent weaknesses are assaulted by such personified diabolic forces as the Seven Deadly Sins but who may choose redemption and enlist the aid of such figures as the Four Daughters of God (Mercy, Justice, Temperance, and Truth).
Morality plays were an intermediate step in the transition from liturgical to professional secular drama, and combine elements of each. They were performed by quasi-professional groups of actors who relied on public support; thus the plays were usually short, their serious themes tempered by elements of farce.
In the Dutch play Het esbatement den appelboom (“The Miraculous Apple Tree”), for example, a pious couple, Staunch Goodfellow and Steadfast Faith, are rewarded when God creates for them an everbearing apple tree with the property that whoever touches it without permission becomes stuck fast. This leads to predictable and humorous consequences.
The most famous of the French morality plays is Nicolas de la Chesnaye’s Condemnation des banquets (1507), which argues for moderation by showing the bad end that awaits a company of unrepentant revelers, including Gluttony and Watering Mouth. Among the oldest of morality plays surviving in English is The Castle of Perseverance (c. 1425), about the battle for the soul of Humanum Genus.
A plan for the staging of one performance has survived that depicts an outdoor theatre-in-the-round with the castle of the title at the centre. Of all morality plays, the one that is considered the greatest, and that is still performed, is Everyman. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/391805/morality-play
A morality play is a type of theater performance that uses allegorical characters to teach the audience a moral lesson. This type of play originated in medieval Europe, first appearing in the 1400s, and typically was of a Christian nature. It could be considered an intermediate step between the Biblical mystery plays of the medieval period and the secular theater of the later Renaissance, such as the plays of William Shakespeare.
The morality play has remained a cultural influence to some degree, although it has waned in popularity. The basic premise of the morality play, in which the main character — who represents all people and to whom audiences can relate — makes a journey and is influenced by characters along the way, is still common in many works of theater and film.
It also is common for real-world events to be equated to morality plays by commentators and writers. As examples, the worldwide economic problems of the early 21st century and the success or failure of various political policies have been compared with morality plays by people who think that certain lessons can be learned from them.