Anonymous: Mankind

(1499 words)
  • Claire Sponsler (University of Iowa )

Mankind is, with good reason, the most widely-read example of the genre now known as the medieval morality play, a term coined by modern critics to describe a group of five plays – the others being The Pride of Life, The Castle of Perseverance, Wisdom, and Everyman. These plays constitute the sole surviving examples of what was once apparently a thriving and influential form of drama in pre-modern England. Written around 1465-1470 in the East Midlands dialect of Middle English and surviving in a single copy in what is known as the Macro manuscript, which also includes The Castle of Perseverance, Mankind tells the story of its eponymous hero's temptation, fall into sin, and ultimate …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Sponsler, Claire. "Mankind". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 July 2001
[, accessed 02 July 2015.]