Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth century, English theater was significantly influenced by the success of medieval mystery plays not only because they were enjoyed by all facets of society, but also because they contained socio-political commentary relevant to the period in which they thrived. More specifically, The Second Shepherds’ Play by the Wakefield Master was one of the most well-known medieval mystery plays of its time. A shepherd, Coll, makes a speech in the opening of the play that is particularly significant because it represents the dissatisfaction and woe that those in the peasant class suffered daily in a feudal hierarchical society. With closer examination, one can find specific literary devices used by the Wakefield Master in order to achieve greater appeal to his audience and succeed in portraying the hardship and oppression men like Coll endured. Undoubtedly, this medieval mystery play along with many others impacted greatly the future of professional English theater.
"The Second Shepherds’ Play: “Coll’s Speech”,"
Proceedings of GREAT Day: Vol. 2011, Article 16.
Available at: https://knightscholar.geneseo.edu/proceedings-of-great-day/vol2011/iss1/16