April 4 – 1st & 2nd Shepard’s Plays

We’ve talked in class about the “wheel of fortune” and it is mentioned quite a few times throughout these plays. What do you think the attitudes/beliefs about the wheel of fortune say about attitudes/beliefs about nature?

3 thoughts on “April 4 – 1st & 2nd Shepard’s Plays

  1. The notion of fate is frequently portrayed through other medieval texts, sometimes as a force of good, sometimes as an opposition to the protagonist of the story, and sometimes just as a neutral force. Looking for fate in the The Shepherd’s Plays, I particularly noted its mention in the first part of the First Shepherd’s Play, where the First Shepherd is lamenting the way that the world “fares on ilk side,” as though the way the world works is the same and even, regardless of the wishes of man. He also goes on to wish “hap” would “grind, God from his heaven,” wishing that the chance that is in this world will be noticed by the God of a heavenly world. From these lines and several others, it seems as though fate is something that is in this, mortal world by unaffected by it. It is simply the unchanging nature of how the world works; just as time goes on and seasons change, fate remains and favors each supposed side.

  2. I agree with Alexis, I think that the wheel of fortune as it is depicted in these plays is representative of a consistent force that acts beyond the power of mere mortals. Nature relates to this too just as Alexis said, with seasons that will come and go despite anything else going on in the world. Nature is also seen in many medieval texts as something within, a governing force of character that cannot be influenced by anything outside oneself or even by ones own will. Thus, as the wheel of fortune remains separate and unalterable, so too does Nature.

  3. I think the concept of the “wheel of fortune” ties in nicely with the thoughts that have already been stated in regards to nature and it’s role in Fate; it reminds me of the way Greek myth connected the Fates to all the things that could possibly happen to a person, good, bad, or insignificant. In the same way, there is a reason behind all the things that happen in correlation to nature, whether we know what that reason is or not; and I think the point there is that nature isn’t something we are necessarily intended to understand, but simply to take part in and to respect.

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