Morality Play

Morality Play

"Morality Play" is a detective story by Barry Unsworth, a Man Booker Prize-winning author for his book Sacred Hunger

Published in 1996 by the W. W. Norton & Company, the book was critically acclaimed and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Time: Medieval times. The end of the 14th century. Total duration of the book is several days, and all of the event take place in an unnamed village with a caste beside it
Place: The north of England, on the countryside. Village on the county of Lord de Guise, that lays north of the Humber.


----;Nicolas Barber: The main character, a monk who fled in fear of the husband of a woman he plagued adultery on. After he fled he became a player. ;Robert Sandville: The lord to whom the player's belonged. At the time of the book, he was fighting in France for the King.;Martin Bell: the leader of the players. He used to be in service of a lord, but because of circumstances he got a license to play parts and started a player's group. ;Tobias: A thrifty and wise man, who've been part of the player's group for a long while. He owns a scruffy dog. ;Stephen:He used to be an archer for the Sandville family, but when he lost his right thumb he could never practice out that profession again. Therefore he joined the players. He had great respect for aristocracy and acted with dignity. ;Springer:the youngest of the group, around fifteen even though he was not sure himself. He did the women's parts because of his boyish face. ;Straw:The most lively in the group, with strange mood swings. He always wants to entertain everyone and can play many different kinds of parts. He just as easily plays a child as an old woman.;Margaret: The wife of Stephen. She was originally a whore. She is not counted as part of the players, she only does small jobs involving the play. None of the players really like her (except Stephen of course) but she is tolerated. ;Brendan: He was one of the players. He died in the beginning of the book of an unknown disease. Because of his death Nicolas was accepted into the group of players, and also because of his death they stopped in the small village where the murder of Thomas Wells had taken place.;Thomas Wells: he was a young boy, whose parents were simple villagers. Because of his fathers drinking problem he was sent home with money they received from selling their cow. He was killed on the way home. It was his murder that the payers decided to act out. To do that they investigated his murder. ;Jack Flint: In search of more information about the murder of Thomas Wells, Margaret found Flint. He was the one who buried Thomas Wells, and his information helped to solve a much about the murder. Margaret was attracted to him, and in the end of the book she had planned to stay with him and leave the player's company. ;Jane:A single woman living with her father. She was accused of the murder and thrown in prison. Martin sought her up and fell in love with her. ;John Lambert:A simple weaver with strong moral idea's. He was the father of Jane and convinced that Jane's arrest was meant to silence him. ;Lord de Guise:;... de Guise: 'the son';The knight: A very impressive man, who came to the village to compete in a tournament organized by Lord de Guise. Nicolas originally thought he was coming to get his soul. ;Simon Damian: The monk bound to the Order of the Benedictines but who works for the Lord. He lived in a monastery but traveled around. He tried to blame the murder of Thomas Wells on the weaver’s daughter, but got hanged himself instead. ;The Justice: The Justice is a man in service of the King. He has the legal authority of a court. He had traveled to the unnamed village to judge Lord de Guise and his practices. ;Thomas: He is justice's helper and has the same fine manners as the justice.


----This story takes place in medieval times. It starts with a rogue monk who flees his monastery and joins a group of players, to escape a wronged husband, with whose wife he has slept with for food. The Players need a new member as the previous member has died on the road.

The company travels, until they arrive in an unnamed town in which the murder of a young boy has recently occurred. They perform their normal morality play, which fails to bring in the crowds, and leaves them short of funds.

The principal actor, Martin, suggests that they do a play on the subject of the unsettling death of the boy, Thomas Wells. The players go out and try to gather further information about the murder, including what they have learnt into the versions of the play that they peform.

As the story continues, more things begin to unravel. The idea of acting this murder is especially difficult for the rogue monk, Nicholas. Although he ran from his duties as a monk, he still holds onto the concept of church and God which tend to give meanings to plays that are performed.

When they show the play for the first time, the mother of the child is watching and denies that the story is true. The players, after they are done, resolve to make a new play, The true story of Thomas Wells. This doesn't work out too well.

Because of their investigation they are brought to Lord de Guise, who wants them to play out The true story of Thomas Wells for him. The players are held prison at his castle, but Nicolas Barber finds a way to escape and seeks the help of the Justice.

The justice offers them a way of escape, as he is not here to investigate the mysterious murders but the affairs of the Lord Guise. They watch a joust from the window of the jail where they are held, and then are released.

External links

* [ Publisher's site]
* [ Man Booker Prize site - shortlisted]

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