The Castle of Perseverance  

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 +'''''The Castle of Perseverance''''' is a c. 15th century [[morality play]] and the earliest known full-length (3,649 lines) vernacular play in existence. Along with ''[[Mankind (play)|Mankind]]'' and ''[[Wisdom (play)|Wisdom]]'', ''The Castle of Perseverance'' is preserved in the Macro Text (named after its owner Cox Macro) that is now housed in the [[Folger Shakespeare Library]] in [[Washington, D.C.]] ''The Castle of Perseverance'' contains nearly all of the themes found in other morality plays, but it is especially important (and unusual) because a stage drawing is included, which may suggest [[theatre in the round]].
-A '''shoulder angel''' is a [[plot device]] used for either dramatic or humorous effect in [[animation]] and [[comic strip]]s (and occasionally in live-action television). The [[angel]] represents [[conscience]] and is often accompanied by a '''shoulder [[devil]]''' representing [[temptation]]. They are handy for easily showing inner conflict of a character. Usually, the angel is depicted on (or hovering near) the right shoulder and the devil or demon on the left, as [[Left-handedness#Negative associations of left-handedness in language|the left side traditionally represents dishonesty or impurity]].+==Drawing==
 +One of the earliest drawings of a stage and set design is preserved in the manuscript. In the center of the drawing is the castle from the play's title. The writing above the castle explicitly says that the audience should not sit in the area. At the base of the castle is a bed on which Mankind rests. The circle around the castle is labeled as a ditch, which the audience should not cross.
-The shoulder angel often uses the [[iconography]] of a traditional [[angel]], with wings, a robe, a [[Halo (religious iconography)|halo]], and sometimes a harp. The shoulder devil likewise usually looks like a traditional devil with reddish skin, horns, [[barb]]ed tail, a [[pitchfork]] (or actually a [[trident]]) and (sometimes) [[Cloven-hoof|cloven hooves]]. Often, both resemble their host, though sometimes they will resemble other characters in the story who are responsible or mischievous. The idea may have originated from the Christian concept of a personal [[guardian angel]], who was often considered to be matched by a personal devil who countered the angel's efforts (though there is a very similar idea outlined in [[The Shepherd of Hermas]]. Especially in popular [[medieval drama]]s, like the 15th century ''[[The Castle of Perseverance]]''. In both this and [[Christopher Marlowe]]'s play ''[[The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus]]'', of about 1592, the "Good Angel" and "Bad Angel" offer competing advice (Act 2, scene 1, etc.) to the hero. In several modern fictional stories, a character can be marked as especially evil or mischievous by receiving similarly bad advice from both shoulder figures, having a second shoulder devil instead of the angel, or being persuaded by the devil to kick the angel out.+The five short text blocks around the circle label scaffolds for some of the characters, including [[God]], [[Belial]], and World. The map is oriented with north towards the bottom, which suggests that it is not merely some abstract suggestion by the [[playwright]] or [[scribe]], but rather a real set design that may have been implemented.
-The non-canonical book, ''[[The Shepherd of Hermas]]'' has a reference to the idea of two Angels, ''There are two angels with a man--one of righteousness, and the other of iniquity.'' (Sixth Commandment, Chapter 2). These angels in turn descend into a persons heart, and attempt to guide a person's emotions. Hermas is told to understand both Angels, but to only trust the Angel of Righteousness. The book ''The Shepherd of Hermas'' dates from around 140-150 CE.+Whether the drawing truly represents theatre in the round or not is debatable. Although the ditch circles the castle completely and it is stated that the audience should not cross it, nowhere does the text state that the audience should sit on all sides of the play. It is possible that they sat on only one or some of the sides.
-There is a similar [[Islamic]] belief of [[Kiraman Katibin]], two angels residing on either shoulder of humans which record their good and bad deeds. However, these angels do not have influence over the choices one makes, and only record one's deeds. They are also called [[Qareen]].+==Synopsis==
 +This morality play traces the entire life of its hero Humanum Genus (Mankind) as he wages a fluctuating battle with evil forces. As the play begins, Mankind ignores the counsel of his Good Angel and allows his Bad Angel to lead him into the service of World. World’s servants (Lust and Folly) dress the hero in expensive clothes and lead him to the scaffold of Covetousness, where Mankind accepts the Seven Deadly Sins. All is not lost, though, for Shrift and Penance convince Mankind to repent and he is placed in the Castle of Perseverance where he will be protected from sin by the Seven Moral Virtues. Mankind's enemies (World, Flesh, and the Devil) attack the castle but are repulsed by the Virtues armed with roses (emblems of Christ’s Passion). Next, Covetousness tempts Mankind with an offer of wealth, and Mankind thinks about accepting. At this point, Mankind is struck down by a dart thrown by Death, illustrating that death may strike at any moment. As he dies, Mankind prays that God will deliver his soul from Hell. The Four Daughters of God (drawn from a medieval tradition) debate Mankind’s fate, and, in the end, God sides with Mercy and Peace (over Righteousness and Truth) and decides to pardon Mankind. The actor playing God ends the play with the admonishment,
-One may view this image in [[Freudian]] terms, with the Angel representing the super-ego (the source of self-censorship), counterbalanced by the Devil representing the id (the primal, instinctive desires of the individual).+:“Thus endyth oure gamys!
 +:To save you fro synnynge,
 +:Evyr at the begynnynge
 +:Thynke on youre last endynge!”
-==See also==+In [[Modern English]]:
-* [[Archangel]]+:“Thus ends our games!
-* [[Guardian Angel]]+:To save you from sinning,
-* [[Psychomachia]]+:Forever from the beginning
 +:Think on your last ending!”
 +==Themes==
 +''The Castle of Perseverance'' shows the progression of Mankind from birth to death, illustrating his temptations and the process necessary for Christian salvation. The play pictures men in this world as besieged on all sides by sin with the only comfort and salvation coming from virtues.
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The Castle of Perseverance is a c. 15th century morality play and the earliest known full-length (3,649 lines) vernacular play in existence. Along with Mankind and Wisdom, The Castle of Perseverance is preserved in the Macro Text (named after its owner Cox Macro) that is now housed in the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. The Castle of Perseverance contains nearly all of the themes found in other morality plays, but it is especially important (and unusual) because a stage drawing is included, which may suggest theatre in the round.

Drawing

One of the earliest drawings of a stage and set design is preserved in the manuscript. In the center of the drawing is the castle from the play's title. The writing above the castle explicitly says that the audience should not sit in the area. At the base of the castle is a bed on which Mankind rests. The circle around the castle is labeled as a ditch, which the audience should not cross.

The five short text blocks around the circle label scaffolds for some of the characters, including God, Belial, and World. The map is oriented with north towards the bottom, which suggests that it is not merely some abstract suggestion by the playwright or scribe, but rather a real set design that may have been implemented.

Whether the drawing truly represents theatre in the round or not is debatable. Although the ditch circles the castle completely and it is stated that the audience should not cross it, nowhere does the text state that the audience should sit on all sides of the play. It is possible that they sat on only one or some of the sides.

Synopsis

This morality play traces the entire life of its hero Humanum Genus (Mankind) as he wages a fluctuating battle with evil forces. As the play begins, Mankind ignores the counsel of his Good Angel and allows his Bad Angel to lead him into the service of World. World’s servants (Lust and Folly) dress the hero in expensive clothes and lead him to the scaffold of Covetousness, where Mankind accepts the Seven Deadly Sins. All is not lost, though, for Shrift and Penance convince Mankind to repent and he is placed in the Castle of Perseverance where he will be protected from sin by the Seven Moral Virtues. Mankind's enemies (World, Flesh, and the Devil) attack the castle but are repulsed by the Virtues armed with roses (emblems of Christ’s Passion). Next, Covetousness tempts Mankind with an offer of wealth, and Mankind thinks about accepting. At this point, Mankind is struck down by a dart thrown by Death, illustrating that death may strike at any moment. As he dies, Mankind prays that God will deliver his soul from Hell. The Four Daughters of God (drawn from a medieval tradition) debate Mankind’s fate, and, in the end, God sides with Mercy and Peace (over Righteousness and Truth) and decides to pardon Mankind. The actor playing God ends the play with the admonishment,

“Thus endyth oure gamys!
To save you fro synnynge,
Evyr at the begynnynge
Thynke on youre last endynge!”

In Modern English:

“Thus ends our games!
To save you from sinning,
Forever from the beginning
Think on your last ending!”

Themes

The Castle of Perseverance shows the progression of Mankind from birth to death, illustrating his temptations and the process necessary for Christian salvation. The play pictures men in this world as besieged on all sides by sin with the only comfort and salvation coming from virtues.





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