Parallels: the morality play “Everyman” and selected tales of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Date
2008-12
Authors
Rosenberg, Judith Church
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Abstract

In this study, the morality play Everyman is compared to selected tales of Nathaniel Hawthorne. The drama and the tales exhibit shared qualities of a moral purpose, allegory, and a central character whose salvation is central to the plot. Thematic parallels include the journey, order, separation, time, and illusion. The drama and the tales share the imaginary setting of allegory to dramatize the extended metaphor of the path of life expressed in poetic language. Universal human conflicts are presented: Everyman stages the path of the penitent Christian, while Hawthorn's tales explore the psychological effect of a moral dilemma employing ambiguity, irony, and symbol. The effectiveness of both drama and tale is achieved by references to common knowledge; they are perpetually relevant. Tales by Hawthorne considered in this study are "Roger Malvin's Burial," "The Minister's Black Veil," "Wakefield," "The Wedding Knell," and "Feathertop."

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Language, literature, and linguistics, Comparative literature, Medieval literature
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