‘A stroke schalt thow beyre’: Staging Anger in Plays of the Massacre of the Innocents

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Abstract

Of the six surviving pageants and plays that dramatize Massacre of the Innocents, four expand on the biblical spectacle of cruelty by adding a scene in which the mothers of the Innocents confront Herod’s soldiers verbally, and to varying degrees, physically. This article explores these confrontations as scripted in the Pageant of the Shearmen and Taylors in Coventry and the Digby Candlemes Day and þe Kyllyng of the Children of Israelle play through medieval discussions of anger. It examines the representations of anger in both plays and argues that the cultural work of the added altercations between the mothers and Herod’s knights lies in portraying righteous anger as a socially positive force.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-130
Number of pages22
JournalThe Mediaeval Journal
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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