Allegorical drama of 15th–16th-century Europe. The plays' characters personified moral qualities (such as charity or vice) or abstractions (such as death or youth). One of the main types of vernacular drama of its time, it provided a transition from liturgical drama to professional secular drama. The plays were short works, usually performed by semiprofessional acting troupes that relied on public support. Everyman (c. 1495), featuring Everyman's summons by Death and his journey to the grave, is considered the greatest morality play. See also miracle play; mystery play.
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