Dr. Heather Hill-Vásquez, Department of English, University of Detroit Mercy


ENL 320

Study Questions - The Reckoning


1. The opening words of the film are "seek those things that are above . . . not those that are upon the earth." How might this apply to late medieval spirituality as we have been discussing it? Consider some of the mystics we've been discussing as well as the emphasis upon Christ's suffering and humanity in the later Middle Ages.


2. How does the film portray the difference between performance/plays/representation in the Middle Ages as opposed to today? Consider, for example, the comments of some of the actors/players: "God has not revealed to us the meaning of the story." "God hasn't given us this story to use." Why is it okay to portray stories from the Bible, for example, but not from real life?


3. Consider the role of the audience in the performances in the film. How does the role change?


4. How are class levels and differences portrayed in the film? How do they affect the role of the performances?


5. How is the relationship between humans and the natural environment portrayed in the film? How might this connect to the way religious experiences and understandings are presented in the film?


6. What might be the significance of having a priest also become an actor/player? Consider, too, his role as a kind of intermediary figure between the audience and the performance in the last scenes of the film.


7. What role does religion seem to play in people's lives as they are portrayed in the film?


8. Consider the role of women in the film. How are they portrayed? What part do they serve in the action? How might they compare to the women we have studied--both real women (e.g., Margery Kempe, Julian of Norwich) and literary figures (the Wife of Bath, etc.).


9. Does this film seem an accurate portrayal of medieval people's understandings of drama/performance? What does it confirm about our discussions? How does it depart from our discussions?



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