This is the first biblical piece to have been written in the vernacular (French) rather than in Latin and performed outdoors and not in a church. It was also acted not sung, unlike the 11th-century Sponsus, and so stands as the first of the popular mystery plays that dominated medieval theatre in Europe. While there are many long didactic speeches, some of the text relates more closely to the experience of the contemporary audience. In the telling of the story of the banishment from Eden one notes the realism of the personal confrontations: God (here called the Figura) warning Adam, Eve being cleverly tempted by Satan, Adam resisting temptation but then being taunted by his wife until he finally gives way and brings about the Fall of humankind. While over 150 French mystery plays survive, English speakers will be more familiar with cycles such as York, and Chester.
Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).