‘Here may we se a merveyl one’: Miracles and the Psalter in the N-Town ‘Marriage of Mary and Joseph’

Frank M Napolitano

Abstract


A major theme of the N-Town ‘Marriage of Mary and Joseph’ is its characters’ ability to interpret religious truths by interacting with scripture or witnessing miracles. Mary’s reading of her psalter at the play’s ending comments upon the episode in which the miraculous ‘flowering wand’ identifies Joseph as Mary’s future husband. The play privileges scripture reading as a method of attaining knowledge as the psalter’s salvific power supplants the miracle of the flowering branch as a source of virtue and mercy; yet the play also affirms images like the wand flowering and Mary reading as devotional icons.


Keywords


N-Town; Marriage of Mary and Joseph; Betrothal; Medieval; Drama; Theatre; Middle English; Biblical Drama; Frank M. Napolitano; Counsel; Spectacle; Virgin Mary

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.12745/et.18.2.1072


Frank M Napolitano
http://www.radford.edu/content/chbs/home/english/faculty/napolitano.html
Radford University
United States

Frank M. Napolitano <fnapolitano@radford.edu> is an associate professor of English and the coordinator of the graduate teaching fellows mentoring program at Radford University. His primary teaching interests are medieval English literature, the history of rhetoric, and composition studies. He has published on Middle English biblical drama in Early Theatre and Studies in Philology.