Positional Symbolism and English Medieval Drama


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

Research in the dramatic records of England strongly suggests that religious pageants and plays presented by local guilds and civic authorities, as opposed to productions by traveling players, were more often than not associated with an important festival such as Corpus Christi, Whitsunday, or a saint's day.1 In such cases, the drama functioned as adjunct to the festival itself, and hence the theatrical event needs to be regarded as a ritual which helped to focus attention in ways consistent with the sacred meaning of the day in the liturgical year. Concerning this kind of ritual, the anthropologist Mary Douglas has observed that it "enlivens the memory and links the present with the relevant past,"2 in some sense making the past to become present in the experience of the participants and/ or audience.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.