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362 Study Questions: Wakefield Master's Second
drama, mystery play, mystery cycle, dramatis personae,
speech prefix, morality play, guild, thirteener, s. p.
Character Identification: Mak (Mac), Gill (Jill), Coll
(Cole) and Gib (Jeb), the stolen lamb.
Object Identification: The Three Gifts--(The Ball, the
Bird, and the Bob of Cherries)
Introduction: Who or what is the Wakefield
Lecture: What is a mystery play? Who would perform
a mystery play? What is the difference between a morality
play and a miracle play?
Is The Second
Play a morality play or a miracle
play? How does The Second Shepherds' Play fit in with (or
not fit in with) The First Shepherds' Play?
- What is Coll complaining about in the opening lines
of the play?
- What is Gib complaining about when he first enters
- What does Gib's commentary about roosters and hens
suggest about his marital life?
- What con-job does Mak try to pull to steel the sheep
- What is Coll's reaction to Mak's potential acting
career? (I.e., where does he tell him to stick his
fake southern accent?)
- If Mak has to work to create a southern accent, he
must be a northerner. Where does his name (Mak or Mac)
suggest he must originate?
- How frequently does Mak's wife Gill give birth according
to lines 347 and following?
- What does Mak mean when he says he hopes to offer
his wife "Her head-mass penny"?
- Why does Mak
draw a circle on the ground around the sleeping shepherds?
What is he
trying to do?
- What does Mak steal from the Shepherds as they sleep?
How does this symbolically connect to the Christmas
- What excuse does Mak give to leave the shepherds
and return to his wife? (i.e., what does he say he
saw in a dream as he slept?
- Where do Gill and Mak hide their future dinner? How
does that symbolically connect to the Christmas story?
- When the shepherds "inform" Mak that one of their
sheep has been stolen, Mak claims, "Had I been thore,
/ Some should have bought it full sore." How is this
funny or ironic?
- Gill vows to the shepherds, "If ever I you beguiled,
/ That I eat this child / That lies in this cradill."
Why is this funny or ironic?
- Explain how all these jokes about eating the child
connect with the Christian ritual of eucharist or communion.
- Coll, Gib, and Daw leave Mak's house completely tricked.
What do they realize as they leave that gives them
the desire to go back? (What have they overlooked doing
earlier that they now want to do out of generosity?)
- When Daw bends down to kiss Mak's child, what about
the "child" gives away its real identity?
- How does Mak try to talk his way out of the problem
in lines 867-68 and 882-84?
- How does Gill try to talk her way out of the situation
- After talking about burning Gill alive or cutting
off Mak's head, what punishment does the group settle
on for Mak? Lecture Question: What was this activity
associated with in the medieval period?
- Who or what appears with good news after the shepherds
- After receiving this message, Gib, Daw and Coll discuss
the way the messenger sang, and they try to "croon"
and imitate it? How is this symbolic?
- Gib turns out to be something of a bible scholar.
What does he connect with the angelic message in terms
- What three gifts do the three shepherds bring? Why
is each one symbolically appropriate?
- As the shepherds head off stage, the stage directions
reveal what about them?
A: "Now take out that Southern tooth,
/ And set in a turd!"
B: Speaker #1: "Yea, our sheep that we get / Are stolen
as they yode: / Our loss is great."
Speaker #2: "Sirs, drinks! Had I been thore, / Some should
have bought it full sore.
C: "Ah, my middill! / I pray to God so mild, / If ever
I you beguiled, / That I eat this child / That lies in
D: "Give me leave him to kiss, / And lift up the clout.
[lifts up the cover] / What the devil is this? / He has
a long snout!
E: "Say, what was his song? / Heard ye not how he cracked
it? /. Three breves to a long?"