The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Beidler, Peter G. "Noah and the Old Man in the Pardoner's Tale." 15 (1981): 250-54.
The plague background of the Pardoner's Tale suggests that the old man was a Noah-figure to Chaucer's audienc--the good survivor of a purifying destruction.
Campbell, Josie P. "The Idea of Order in the Wakefield Noah." 10 (1975): 76-86.
The Wakefield Noah is about love and mastery within the family unit. In discovering divine love, however, Noah also gains an understanding of obedience. Love produces friendship, and friendship, obedience. Noah must realize that love connects man to God in obedience and that the obedience this love produces will save the world. The commitment to care for his family and for the animals is an essential part of man's relationship to God. God's love sustains earthly life. Evidence in the play does not suggest that Noah ever gains mastery over Uxor, his wife. Uxor's idea of mastery is based on fear and contrasts with the ideas about love which Noah is learning. Finally, when Uxor and Noah fight to a draw, their sons suggest a new way of behaving in which Noah and Uxor will be equals. Ultimately, Noah asserts that love maintains order, not fear.
Rowland, Beryl B. "The Play of the Miller's Tale: A Game Within a Game." 5 (1970): 140-46.
Chaucer uses the terms "game" in the sense in which it commonly refers to the medieval mystery play. To heighten this allusion, he uses a mystery play structure for his tale. Each character parodies one of the characters common in mystery plays. Alisoun parodies Mary and Eve; Nicholas, Herod and Satan; and John, Joseph and Noah.
Stevens, Martin. "The Theatre of the World: A Study in Medieval Dramatic Form." 7 (1973): 234-49.
For medieval drama, the theatrical space could contain the entire cosmos, show interaction between humans and supernatural figures, and depict all of salvation history. Medieval drama tended to stage a contest between cosmic powers of good and evil over human souls. Since good always won, evil characters were never protagonists. Generally, medieval plays had similar structures: the action was either a conversion or a martyrdom. Thus, all stages used similar layouts, which could serve corpus christi, saint, and morality plays. Such a staging may have been similar to Langland's landscape in Piers Plowman, with a tower for heaven, a dungeon (valley) for hell, and a field in the middle for earth. Since the play progresses as characters move from place to place, the journey becomes the focus of medieval plays. The audience is thus drawn into the play, and the off-stage area ceases to exist. Time is linear, so each play or part of the action is essential to the next, though similar patterns of action recur. These elements comprise "native tradition."