Article Title

Law and Disorder in Ludus Coventriae


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

My purpose is to provide a new context for the late medieval cycle of plays traditionally referred to as Ludus Coventraie by investigating the fifteenth-century legal conditions reflected in these plays. Critics of medieval drama have not recognized the importance of laws as a religious ideal and so have not noticed its significance in late medieval and early Renaissance religious drama. Because we no longer link law with religion, we must remind ourselves that law, for the medieval Englishman, was the formal expression of divine will; it was the common belief that the common as well as the ecclesiastical law originated in the mind of God. This did not prevent Englishmen from criticizing their legal institutions, however; law was, in fact, an extremely controversial topic in the fifteenth century, no less so than in the sixteenth.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.