This essay analyses the catalogue of animals in the Chester Noah’s Flood play. The analysis demonstrates that the catalogue is created to conform to late medieval and early modern conceptions of the utility of animals (as food and as labour) as well as to gender roles (men handle animals, women handle birds). Moreover, Noah’s wife is deeply characterized by the specific creatures she brings on the ark; they are figures of disorder and illegality. Finally, the essay explores issues of animal/human relationships, arguing that the play (rather unusually for the time) promotes kindness to animals, perhaps in response to early Protestant ideas.
Author Biography Lisa J. Kiser is professor of English at Ohio State University. She has written two books on Chaucer, Telling Classical Tales: Chaucer and the Legend of Good Women (1983), and Truth and Textuality in Chaucer’s Poetry (1991). She is the former editor of Studies in the Age of Chaucer. She has also coedited, with Barbara A. Hanawalt, Engaging with Nature: Essays on the Natural World in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (2008). In addition, she has authored numerous articles on nature and environmental history in the textual traditions of medieval Europe.
Kiser, Lisa J..
'The Animals in Chester's Noah's Flood'.
14.1 (2011): 15-44 (paper). Article 16.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/earlytheatre/vol14/iss1/16