chapter  7
13 Pages

Easter Scenes from an Unholy Tomb: Christian Parody in The Widow’s Tears

ByAlice Dailey

This chapter argues that the final two acts of The Widow's Tears comprise a parodic version of the scenes at Christ's empty tomb on Easter morning and that the Easter parody is integral to an understanding of the play's moral and thematic concerns. The Widow's Tears represents a society where faith in the capacity for goodness and redemption has failed completely, a failure that ensures the destruction of any notion of the sacred. The Easter story dramatizes not only the moment when faith and proof are one but the inauguration of faith as the spiritually superior epistemological mode for apprehending Christ. At the heart of the Easter story and its medieval dramatic representations is a meditation on this tension between God's requirement of faith and the human desire for proof. For Chapman, this tradition acts as a template for a play that engages these same thematic concerns.