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Persecution, Plague, and FireFugitive Histories of the Stage in Early Modern England$
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Ellen MacKay

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226500195

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226500218.001.0001

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Stigmatical Drama

Stigmatical Drama

Chapter:
(p.105) 4 Stigmatical Drama
Source:
Persecution, Plague, and Fire
Author(s):

Ellen Mackay

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226500218.003.0005

In comparison with the Roman form that precedes it, Catholic drama accords more pleasingly with an audience's experience. Instead of saddling the spectator with the burden of a guilt that must be displaced and disavowed, religious performance turns the poignancy of what it shows into the promise of salvation. The difficulty, though, is that it can admit no such comparison. Because its impact must always seem to have been holily begotten, not made, a Christian theater cannot aim to improve upon Rome's travesty of justice; according to Hardin Craig's 1955 study of English Religious Drama, it is a form that must be accorded a virgin birth.

Keywords:   Catholic drama, religious performance, salvation, Christian theater, virgin birth, Hardin Craig, English Religious Drama

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