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Noah's Piety In The Play

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In the York Corpus Christi Plays, many of the characters are so over-top, so remarkably buffoonish that those characters are ultimately quite comedic in effect. To a modern audience, a comedic biblical character may seem blasphemous—it may seem morally wrong to laugh at Jesus’s executioners as they struggle to crucify Christianity’s most important figure. However, when examining exactly how those characters function in the play, the comedic nature of those characters may not be wholly blasphemous in effect. For example, do those comedic executioners only make the audience laugh at Jesus’s crucifixion, or do they emphasize Jesus’s calm and solemn nature? Similarly, plays about Noah’s ark and the great flood include comedic characters, yet those plays do not feel totally blasphemous. Instead, the inclusion of a variety of characters in these plays seems more nuanced. In the York Corpus Christi Play The Building of the Ark, Noah’s piety is established through his undying trust in God and his general…show more content…
Throughout his encounter with God, Noah does not question God’s intentions or his plan. The only thing Noah questions is his own ability to perform such great actions (which is, again, related to his pious humility), never God’s general plan. God explains to him his plan, and Noah ends the play by telling God that he will go and fulfill God’s wishes: “Abowte this werke now bus me wende,” (PAGE #, l. 148). Not only is Noah humble, he is also obedient and trusts in his God. In attributing Noah’s piety to humility, trust in God, obedience, and gratitude, The Building of the Ark subsequently praises these attributes and establishes them as virtues. Thus, the play not only categorizes Noah as pious (and explains what exactly makes him a pious character), the play also makes the public aware of how one can become pious like
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