The Spectacle of the Scaffolding: Rape and the Violent Foundations of Medieval Theatre Studies
By Jody Enders
Theatre Journal, Vol.56 (2004)
Introduction: Mrs. Coton had finally put the past behind her. It could not have been easy, but she had done it. All that time spent in service as a maid and concubine to Father Thomas. There might well have been humiliation, gossip, abuse. And then there was the escape. The chance to start a new life with Guillemin Coton, to forget about all that, to be his legally wedded wife in the present and forget about the past. If only it had been possible.
It was not possible.
On Saturday night, 1 May 1395, fate brought Mrs. Coton back to the city of her shame: back to Chelles, about ten miles east of Paris. There, a band of men used her checkered past for their present pleasure when they gang-raped her. There were a dozen of them or more; six of them, it seems, had come to Chelles “in order to celebrate a holiday which, in remembrance of the Passion of Our Lord, was to take place the following day.” That celebration included a Passion play.