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"Morality Play" Essay

1237 words - 5 pages

From the beginning of the story to the very last chapter we see that Nicholas Barber is searching for a father figure. Unfortunately he is not only extremely religious but also very idealistic, which makes it difficult for him to find someone who can live up to his standards.When we first meet Nicholas, he is running away from his first father figure and into the arms of the second. On page 13 he explains why he left the church: "I had been sent to act as a secretary to Sir Robert de Brian [...] who set me to transcribing his voluminous verses [...] The birds were singing with full throats, the hawthorn was breaking into flower. I made up my pack and walked out of his house." This shows us that he left the church and his position as a subdeacon out of boredom, but also because he felt that he had been let down. Although this is not the whole truth, this is what Nicholas, at the time, sees as his reasons for leaving.In the beginning of chapter one Nicholas has been on the run for almost a year and has lost most of his belongings. His motives for joining the group of players are almost purely practical, but he also mentions his need for community as an important reason. Before he met the players the church was his community, led by the Bishop whom Nicholas remembers as being like a father to him. The group of players become his shield against the world, but also his new community. Naturally, the group is very different from the church, but there are also certain similarities. First of all, neither of the two are truly parts of society. The idea of the church is to set itself apart from anything worldly or profane, while the players are simply considered to be too low to actually matter. Another thing which they have in common is religion. The church preaches stories from the Bible in Latin, but the same message is more effectively brought to the people through morality plays. It could be that these similarities, at first, make the transition relatively easy for Nicholas.As the story unfolds it becomes clear that Nicholas is not only looking for community in the group of players. The master-player, Martin, starts to take over the Bishop's role, acting as a protector and father to Nicholas. He is the first one to welcome him into the group and the one who is responsible for teaching him the art of acting. Through acting Nicholas learns about himself and the people around him. He is already used to observing and reading people, which we saw him do when he first met the players, but he now begins to wonder about roles and identity. He becomes conscious of the way people react to characters and the way people express their opinions. Although he doesn't agree with it, the idea of God as a player is introduced to him by Martin and it gets him thinking about God and the church in a different way. His role within the group is quickly established, but that doesn't mean that he becomes this person and he begins a quiet search for his true identity. For a...

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