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Medieval Drama

In: English and Literature

Submitted By mastersss
Words 567
Pages 3
Meredith Masters
Block 7, LA4
Research Paper
Word Count: 565

What is drama? Medieval drama was theater. Drama did not come about until the later part of the medieval time. It took the stage as one of the main forms of entertainment around 900 and fell through after the decline in the 1500’s. Plays did make a comeback, and are still popular to this day. There are no performances today that are associated with the plays from back then.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, nomadic bands traveled whether or not there was an audience. They were a combination of jesters, jugglers, storytellers and other performers. Later, when festivals came about, other entertainers were given the chance to showcase their talents. Since the Catholic Church was so powerful, it overpowered such performances and the entertainers were then converted. Actors was their new title. Plays were performed in churches until around 1200, when they were also performed outside on occasion. At the end of the 14th century, churches had less and less control over plays. Towns took over and put on shows that the churches did not. Medieval Drama was very popular during this time, as it was, for a lack of better words, their form of entertainment. The types of plays that were performed during this time were morality, miracle, and mystery plays. Morality plays are didactic allegories often of a common man’s struggle for salvation. Miracle plays are about the lives of saints. They are also historical and legendary. The third type of play that was performed was mystery plays. Mystery plays (aka dramatized scriptures) were about the Bible. They involved Christ, or stories from the Old Testament. Mystery plays were usually done in cycles. These plays were very complex, hence the reason that they were performed in cycles. They were composed of many short plays or episodes, which could or could not be religious. Cycle plays could take a few hours, or even up to 25 days or more to perform. Anachronisms were common. ANachronisms are things that are placed in the wrong time period.

By the late 16th century, drama of the medieval period had lost its force. The social structure was changing. Feudalism was destroyed, as well as the corporate nature of communities. Dissension within the church caused prohibition with the religious plays in Europe. As a result of the decline,there were no longer religious plays. Classics returned with new ideas for stories. Professional theater rose. It became commercial and was no longer a community event. Everything disappeared after the fall of the Roman Empire.

Today, plays are still very popular. There is a diversity of themes and explores genres, cultures, experiences, and issues. Switching ones gender or role of the gender is part of the experimental process. The tension in a dramatic place is affected. Experimenting with style and presentation is standard in modern drama. Traveling groups aren’t as popular now, but they do still exist. They are either housed in theaters or on captured film that is on the internet, or televisions. Nowadays, drama has more subtle, intricate, and delicate forms. Modern drama is symbolic, ritualistic, abstract, and even realistic in style.

Drama has made a name for itself for quite a while now. From starting small, growing large, falling out, and coming back, it is very popular now. Theater is all around the world.

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