Article Title

Marriage in Late-Medieval German Easter and Shrovetide Plays


Late-medieval dramas, both Shrovetide plays and religious plays, prove to be fascinating literary documents of the intensive public debate about marriage. The couples regularly fight against each other, but they also learn how to cope with each other and to form a harmonious coexistence. This observation also applies to a wide range of German Easter and Shrovetide plays, some of the best of which were written by the Nuremberg shoemaker Hans Sachs. The public performance of these plays suggests that the playwrights intended to use the stage as a locus for examining the various aspects of marriage, illustrating grotesque mismatches, cases of miscommunication, and power struggle. Significantly, these late-medieval plays indicate that marriage was not simply an institution where patriarchy ruled; instead, the open exchanges between the marriage partners represented the discursive nature of the gender relationship.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.