김정애 -- 사이클극의 여성들
Jung-ai Kim, "Women in English
Medieval cycle plays portray a few women
characters in the entire cycle since they mainly focus on the Nativity and the
Passion of Christ. The fact that women characters can be easily divided into the
familiar dichotomy of Eve and the Virgin as they are represented in the Bible
seems there’s no room to develop the feminist approach to the cycle plays.
However the authors of the cycle play do not simply follow but develops the
characterization of women in the scripture. The images of women depicted by the
cycle plays derives and departs from the Bible and the European tradition
socio-economic factors of the late middle age.
In the cycle plays, Eve,
Noah’s wife, Gill, Procula are rebuked by their husbands for being unruly,
outrageous, garrulous, disobedient, recalcitrant, shrewish, malicious. These
complaints of husbands can not be justified in terms of women’s point of view.
Eve, the victim of Satan, asked Adam to eat the Forbidden Apple which she thinks
makes him wise.
The conflict between Noah and his wife which shows a
shocking amount of spousal violence reflects the tension between husband and
wife in the late medieval society. Her refusal to enter the ark is not that of a
shrew, but as a woman attempting to find an identity and preserve her family
even in the absence of husband. This reflect the changing and expanded role of
women at that time.
Procula, the wife of Pilate, refuses to remain
silent and transgresses her role as the governor’s wife. Procula, like Eve, is
visited by Satan who through her tries to influence the judgment of Pilate.
Speaking her dream Procula tries to protect her husband from being involved in
the crucifying innocent Jesus.
Gill, the wife of Mak, plays the role of
trickster to protect Mak from hanging. She even affirms her innocence by
swearing she would eat her own newborn if she were guilty of gulling the
shepherds. She parodies the seated Madonna with the Christ child on her knee.
Unlike the Eve type women, the Virgin Mary of the cycle plays faithfully
reproduces the theological view of the Church. The Virgin Mary is the sum of a
chaste virgin, a bride, a mother, the Queen of the Heaven and the intercessor.
The Virgin, facing the crucifixion, comprehends the tragic paradox of the
blissful Passion. She is defined primarily through her separateness from and
superiority to women as well as her humanness.
Mary Magdalene, the most
interesting women character in the cycle plays, transcends the dichotomy of Eve
and the Virgin and combines the earthliness and holiness. Magdalene is a
conflation of three separate figures: she is made to be not only the sister of
Martha and Lazarus but also the woman from whom seven devils were expelled and
the penitent who washes Jesus’ feet with her hair at the house of Simon. Above
of all, as the great lover of Jesus, Magdalene is a faithful disciple, the first
to see the resurrection. Magdalene as a penitent and a disciple contributes the
feminization of the late medieval piety.
play, Eve, the Virgin, Mary Magdalene, image of woman, misogyny