The Shepherds ' Second Play, Marriage Of Mary And Joseph 's Doubt

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Anachronism within The Shepherds’ Second Play, Marriage of Mary and Joseph, and Joseph’s Doubt, allows characters traditionally given secondary roles in the presences of Mary and the Christ-child to be brought to the forefront and portrayed as relatable figures. This is done to emphasize different aspects of the narratives such as the common man’s ability to be virtuous,. The presence of anachronism helps solidify that relatability.
Anachronistic language, present throughout the plays, allows the religious characters to address the English people in their own language. The shepherds often swear “by the rood” or by “Our Lady” even though these oaths could not be possible seeing as how they have not even met the Virgin Mary yet. The use of English parables, currency—like the sixpence (836)—and the southern accent Mak adopts briefly, are used in order to provide a sense of familiarity with the audience. Whether it be as obvious the mention of the Horbury village (656), or a vaguer reference such as the “first cockcrow” of the three that announced Peter’s betrayal to Jesus (557), the audience would have recognized those insertion in the narrative and connected them not to the world of Bethlehem, but to the world of England. This connection between the two is seen again when Joseph communicates directly to the audience his fears on being cuckolded and embarrassed (Doubt 49-61). Not only is he directly addressing the people—physically crossing the boundary of the play’s world and

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