, Volume 94, Issue 2, pp 353-362

First online:

Cain’s Marke: N-Town’s Noah and the Lamech Interlude Reconsidered

  • Joshua R. EylerAffiliated withDepartment of English, Columbus State University Email author 

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The placement of Cain’s death into the middle of the N-Town Noah pageant has long intrigued readers of this English mystery cycle. Scholars have often focused on the role played by Cain’s murderer Lamech, though, instead of the slain villain himself, and these researchers have used the figure of Lamech to argue for the scene’s significance. This essay contends that we should once again place Cain at the center of the play’s meaning by exploring his role in several of the N-Town pageants. Following Martin Stevens’s theories about the cycle, this paper claims that Cain’s various appearances help to construct a commentary on repentance that is essential for developing a holistic reading of the N-Town cycle.


Cain Lamech Martin Stevens N-Town cycle Noah pageant