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

The N-town cycle has long been recognized as concerning itself with the centrality and glory of the Virgin Mary and the conflicts between man's and God's justice. These two subjects have been treated together only seldom and never at great length. The iconography of Mary in this cycle play has been examined by Theresa Coletti,1 the issues of law and justice by Lynn Squires and Robert Potter.2 Most of the treatment of legal matters has centered on the trial of Jesus where human law is quite thoroughly perverted by its adepts in order to perform the judicial murder of Jesus. But this trial has misled modern readers to view human law in the cycle as hypocritical and hateful. The examinations of Mary, however, show a human law capable of justice as well as of perversion. The presence of judges able to discern the humility of Mary and to see God's power surrounding her, particularly in the Trial of Mary and Joseph (Play 14), allows for justice to be done. Mary's own humility can purify the workings of the corrupted and corruptible human law.