Vicious Games: Ludus As Evil In The Medieval Morality Play Mankind
The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (SASMARS)
The English moralities make use of different foci and techniques to create the spirit of repentance which Potter claims to be their central and unifying theme and aim. While Castle of Perseverance investigates the whole spiritual course of God’s creation—innocence, followed by iterated temptation, fall and redemption—over the whole human lifespan, and Everyman encapsulates only its last, urgent hours, Mankind reveals the interconnectedness of the divine and the demonic with the quotidian. In the course of the normal, apparently chance encounters of the day, Mankind represents the human soul adrift between Redemption and Damnation. On the one hand, he is in the loving care of God via the counsel of the priest (whose allegorical name, Mercy, allows him to denote both the saving virtue of forgiveness and a clerical character representing God and Christ). On the other, Mankind is equally the prey of the devil via temptation to sin by the other characters he meets: the Vice, Mischief; the Devil, Titivillus, and the three ‘worldlings’, New Guise, Nowadays, and Nought.
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