My last post looked at characters sharing lines and stanzas in Middle English cycle plays. These shared lines and stanzas were sometimes ominous or implicative, showing how characters are drawn into evil or collaborate in cruelty. But joining together in the construction of a stanza can also signal joy and celebration in these plays. This post shows you some of these spectacular collaborative stanzas in Middle English drama.
Must look at the drama, must look at the drama. That’s been running through my head and scribbled down in notebooks for as long as I have been working on this poetics project. Drama in medieval England was drama in verse, so it has the potential to be a great source for my book. But I have been very surprised by how purposeful and subtle the use of form is, especially to emphasise key moments in the action. This post (the first of several on form in medieval English drama) shows some of the effects playwrights create with stanzas and rhyme. This is perhaps very obvious to people who research and teach a lot of medieval drama, but it is new and fascinating to me.