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Chester Cycle of Mystery Plays


'Chester Cycle of Mystery Plays' can also refer to...

 

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A: Anon Pf: late 14th c., Chester Pb: 1925 G: Cycle of 25 mystery plays; Middle English verse S: Heaven and earth, from the Fall of Lucifer to the Last Judgement C: approx. 50m, 5f, many extrasThe cycle stretches from before the Creation to the end of time, following roughly the same sequence of scenes as The York Cycle. On the evidence of the five extant manuscripts of the complete cycle, The Chester Cycle probably comprised only 25 scenes, often contracting into one scene some of the 48 scenes of The York Cycle. Here also some incidents are omitted, e.g. from the Old Testament the crossing of the Red Sea, from the New Testament the trials before Herod and Pilate, and from Catholic tradition the beatification of the Virgin Mary. Matter that is not found in The York Cycle includes the story of Lot, Christ's healing of the blind Chelidonius, Christ's confrontation with the Moneylenders, and scenes about the Antichrist.

A: Anon Pf: late 14th c., Chester Pb: 1925 G: Cycle of 25 mystery plays; Middle English verse S: Heaven and earth, from the Fall of Lucifer to the Last Judgement C: approx. 50m, 5f, many extras

Over three days the guilds of Chester performed different scenes on pageant wagons at different points in the city, often appropriate to their trade (e.g. ‘The Waterleaders and Drawers of Dee’ produced Noah's Flood and the Ironmongers, manufacturers of nails, were rather cynically given the task of staging The Passion). As at York, everyday medieval life is happily absorbed into biblical narrative and metaphysical events: so, at the end of The Harrowing of Hell a female taverner is obliged to wed a demon and suffer for eternity for watering down her ale. The last recorded performance was in 1575.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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