Internet Shakespeare Editions


Morality to History

From the Roxburghe Ballads. University of Victoria Library.

In the graphic, a scholar discusses issues with the king. It was the aim of the humanists to educate those who ruled in wise and virtuous government.

The morality plays were wonderful teaching devices, combining delight and instruction; while they entertained the audience, they taught the dangers of sin and the goodness of God.

How do you teach a king? Very tactfully . . .

It was their effectiveness that made the morality play attractive to a number of humanists, who changed the nature of the moral without changing the techniques of the drama.

One of the major concerns of the humanists was to exert a positive influence on those in power through learning. At Court the morality play was a natural medium for the humanists to use in educating the king, for plays were by now frequently performed as part of the Court's festive season.