morality play

morality play


Definition of MORALITY PLAY

:  an allegorical play popular especially in the 15th and 16th centuries in which the characters personify abstract qualities or concepts (as virtues, vices, or death)
:  something (as a court trial) which involves a direct conflict between right and wrong or good and evil and from which a moral lesson may be drawn

First Known Use of MORALITY PLAY


morality play

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

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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