Literary Term Miracle Plays

Literary Term Miracle Plays

Miracle plays are medieval dramas depicting miraculous events from the lives of saints or religious stories performed in churches or public spaces. Miracle plays were like medieval theatre shows that told stories from the Bible. They were big events with lots of people watching. In Miracle Plays, actors perform stories about religious events, like the world’s creation or the life of Jesus.

Characteristics of Miracle Plays: Miracle plays, also known as “mystery plays,” were a form of medieval drama that emerged in the 10th century. They were performed in Europe, especially in England and France, and were a significant part of religious festivals and ceremonies. Here are some key features of miracle plays in literature:

  1. Biblical Stories: Miracle plays primarily depicted stories from the Bible. They focus on religious themes, characters, and events. These plays often centred around Christ’s life or saints’ lives.
  2. Religious Context: These plays were performed within a religious context, often in churchyards or marketplaces. They were intended to educate and entertain the masses, communicating religious stories and moral teachings.
  3. Simple Language: Miracle plays were usually performed in the easy language rather than Latin. This makes them accessible to a broader audience who might not have been literate or fluent in Latin.

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  1. Spectacle: Miracle plays combine music, dance, and other theatrical elements to engage the audience.
  2. Didactic Purpose: Beyond entertainment, these plays aimed to convey moral and religious lessons. They emphasized virtues, moral dilemmas, and the consequences of choices, reinforcing Christian values and teachings.
  3. Community Involvement: The performances involved the whole community, with various groups responsible for organizing and performing different play parts.
  4. Theatrical Innovation: Miracle plays contributed to the development of theatrical techniques and the evolution of drama, serving as precursors to later forms of theatre.
  5. Devotional Aspect: These plays were not just entertainment but also a form of devotion and religious expression. These plays allow actors and audiences to engage with religious stories.

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  1. Stable Influence: While they were most popular in the Middle Ages, miracle plays have had a lasting impact on drama and literature. They influenced later playwrights and contributed to the evolution of theatre.
Riya Akter
Riya Akter
Hey, This is Riya Akter Setu, B.A (Hons) & M.A in English from National University.


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