Sacred Blood and the Late Medieval Stage


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

The Wycliffite Tretise of Miraclis Pleyinge alleges that the late medieval religious stage, specifically "miraclis pleyinge," is a vehicle by which audiences see "veine sigh tis of degyse. "1 While this allegation reflects the opinion of a hostile witness, the terms that he uses serve to identify precisely the visual nature of the late medieval religious drama. To be sure, the writer in his polemic mixes secular entertainment with sacred drama and thus is able to insist upon the ability of such theatrical spectacle to stir "to leccherie and debatis" and to other vices.2 'Degyse,' referring to costumes, masks, and other aspects of disguise taken on by actors, and 'sightis' are both terms which confirm Pamela Sheingorn' s insistence on medieval drama as essentially one of the visual arts of the Middle Ages.3 The terms also seem to be consistent with Graham Runnalls' argument, referring to the great French mystery plays, that "the medieval theatre was a place where the spectacle was considered to be more important than the text."4

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.