Home  »  Volume V: English THE DRAMA TO 1642 Part One  »  § 19. The Castle of Perseverance

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IV. Prose and Poetry: Sir Thomas North to Michael Drayton.

III. The Early Religious Drama

§ 19. The Castle of Perseverance

Probably from about the middle of this century date three moralities, which are handed down together in one MS., all three of which represent the allegorical combat for the soul of man. In The Castle of Perseverance, Humanum Genus, the representative of mankind, is introduced first as a child, finally as an old man; in youthful age, he falls into the power of the mortal sin Luxuria, but is brought by Poenitentia to trust himself to Confessio, who leads him to the castle of perseverance visible in the centre of the circular scene; the assault of the vices against the castle is victoriously foiled. But, in his old days, Humanum Genus succumbs to the temptations of Avaritia; so, after his death, the evil angel claims the right to drag him into hell, but he is set free by God at the prayers of Pity and Peace.