Christ as a Worker in the Towneley Conspiracy

Christ as a Worker in the Towneley Conspiracy

Gusick, Barbara I.

Essays in Medieval Studies, vol. 9 (1992)


As a central character in the Corpus Christi plays, Christ has generated surprisingly little controversy among scholars of medieval drama. Certainly researchers have approached Christ from a variety of vantage points, attempting to determine whether he is more human or more divine; whether he is colorless and utilitarian or dynamic and symbolic; whether he is distinctly historical or contemporaneously medieval; whether he speaks the words of the Church or the language of the townspeople. But critics have not yet launched a full-scale study of this sacred character, whose presence extends throughout two-thirds of the Corpus Christi plays. A multifaceted character whose complexity is grounded in biblical narrative, Christ is represented both in an immediate theatrical sense and in an ongoing soteriological sense. Because of his exceedingly complex nature, we must acknowledge the contradictions which arise as we explore the polysemous ways in which Christ signifies.

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