miracle play(redirected from Chester Plays)
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See K. Young, The Drama of the Medieval Church (2 vol., 1933); and anthologies ed. by A. W. Pollard (8th ed. 1927) and V. F. Hopper and G. B. Lahey (1962).
a genre of medieval didactic religious drama in verse, the plot of which was based on a “miracle” performed by a saint or the Virgin Mary. Miracle plays first appeared in France in the 13th century and became widespread in all the countries of Western Europe in the 14th century. The miracle play depicted the intervention of “heavenly forces” in human fate, leading to the triumph of virtue and the punishment of vice.
In France the best-known miracle plays were Jean Bodel’s Jeu de Saint Nicolas (1200) and Rustebeufs Miracle de Théophile (c. 1261). In England the term “miracle play” was also used to designate a mystery play. In Spain the miracle play was close to the medieval auto and was especially popular in the 15th to 17th centuries. The revival of the medieval miracle play in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was the result of a fascination with religious themes in symbolist theater and dramaturgy.
REFERENCESIstoriia zapadnoevropeiskogo teatra, vol. 1. Edited by S. S. Mokul’skii. Moscow, 1956.
Cohen, G. “Le Théatre réligieux.” In his book Le Theatre en France au Moyen-âge [new ed.], part 1. Paris, 1948.