More's Richard III And The Mystery Plays

Retha M. Warnicke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

An analysis of Thomas More's English version of The history of King Richard III indicates that the popular mystery cycles influenced his composition. Associated with the celebrations of Corpus Christi Day, the cycles present a series of biblical plays, beginning with the Creation and ending with the Last Judgment. The important themes of tyranny and sacrifice, which this drama explores, also loom large in Richard III. The theme of tyranny is loosely related in the cycles through Lucifer's functioning as the prototype of all earthly tyrants, including More's Richard III. Evidence of the sacrifice, which is at the heart of the mass, can also be found in many biblical scenes. More's reference to Richard's adolescent nephews as ‘innocent babes’ links them to the infants Herod earlier sacrified to his ambitions. Indeed in Richard III, More does make an intriguing reference to a cobbler performing the role of a ‘ sowdayne ‘ in a play. The suggestion that this drama influenced More's writing is consistent with the speculation that he composed the English version first and then, with the classics in mind, wrote out a separate Latin text, for the two versions have significant differences in imagery, word choice and structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)761-778
Number of pages18
JournalHistorical Journal
Volume35
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1992

Fingerprint

Mystery Play
Richard III
Tyranny
Drama
Mystery
Speculation
Word Structure
Classical Studies
Latin Language
Tyrant
Imagery
Word Choice
History
Ambition
Last Judgment
Thomas More
Prototype
Corpus Christi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History

Cite this

More's Richard III And The Mystery Plays. / Warnicke, Retha M.

In: Historical Journal, Vol. 35, No. 4, 1992, p. 761-778.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Warnicke, Retha M. / More's Richard III And The Mystery Plays. In: Historical Journal. 1992 ; Vol. 35, No. 4. pp. 761-778.
@article{155020bb5dae45d6beab83ec0c9f7b46,
title = "More's Richard III And The Mystery Plays",
abstract = "An analysis of Thomas More's English version of The history of King Richard III indicates that the popular mystery cycles influenced his composition. Associated with the celebrations of Corpus Christi Day, the cycles present a series of biblical plays, beginning with the Creation and ending with the Last Judgment. The important themes of tyranny and sacrifice, which this drama explores, also loom large in Richard III. The theme of tyranny is loosely related in the cycles through Lucifer's functioning as the prototype of all earthly tyrants, including More's Richard III. Evidence of the sacrifice, which is at the heart of the mass, can also be found in many biblical scenes. More's reference to Richard's adolescent nephews as ‘innocent babes’ links them to the infants Herod earlier sacrified to his ambitions. Indeed in Richard III, More does make an intriguing reference to a cobbler performing the role of a ‘ sowdayne ‘ in a play. The suggestion that this drama influenced More's writing is consistent with the speculation that he composed the English version first and then, with the classics in mind, wrote out a separate Latin text, for the two versions have significant differences in imagery, word choice and structure.",
author = "Warnicke, {Retha M.}",
year = "1992",
doi = "10.1017/S0018246X00026157",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "35",
pages = "761--778",
journal = "Historical Journal",
issn = "0018-246X",
publisher = "Cambridge University Press",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - More's Richard III And The Mystery Plays

AU - Warnicke, Retha M.

PY - 1992

Y1 - 1992

N2 - An analysis of Thomas More's English version of The history of King Richard III indicates that the popular mystery cycles influenced his composition. Associated with the celebrations of Corpus Christi Day, the cycles present a series of biblical plays, beginning with the Creation and ending with the Last Judgment. The important themes of tyranny and sacrifice, which this drama explores, also loom large in Richard III. The theme of tyranny is loosely related in the cycles through Lucifer's functioning as the prototype of all earthly tyrants, including More's Richard III. Evidence of the sacrifice, which is at the heart of the mass, can also be found in many biblical scenes. More's reference to Richard's adolescent nephews as ‘innocent babes’ links them to the infants Herod earlier sacrified to his ambitions. Indeed in Richard III, More does make an intriguing reference to a cobbler performing the role of a ‘ sowdayne ‘ in a play. The suggestion that this drama influenced More's writing is consistent with the speculation that he composed the English version first and then, with the classics in mind, wrote out a separate Latin text, for the two versions have significant differences in imagery, word choice and structure.

AB - An analysis of Thomas More's English version of The history of King Richard III indicates that the popular mystery cycles influenced his composition. Associated with the celebrations of Corpus Christi Day, the cycles present a series of biblical plays, beginning with the Creation and ending with the Last Judgment. The important themes of tyranny and sacrifice, which this drama explores, also loom large in Richard III. The theme of tyranny is loosely related in the cycles through Lucifer's functioning as the prototype of all earthly tyrants, including More's Richard III. Evidence of the sacrifice, which is at the heart of the mass, can also be found in many biblical scenes. More's reference to Richard's adolescent nephews as ‘innocent babes’ links them to the infants Herod earlier sacrified to his ambitions. Indeed in Richard III, More does make an intriguing reference to a cobbler performing the role of a ‘ sowdayne ‘ in a play. The suggestion that this drama influenced More's writing is consistent with the speculation that he composed the English version first and then, with the classics in mind, wrote out a separate Latin text, for the two versions have significant differences in imagery, word choice and structure.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84971847676&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84971847676&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1017/S0018246X00026157

DO - 10.1017/S0018246X00026157

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84971847676

VL - 35

SP - 761

EP - 778

JO - Historical Journal

JF - Historical Journal

SN - 0018-246X

IS - 4

ER -