The Role Of Spirituality In The Book Of Margery Kempe

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How would a woman achieve the role of Saint during medieval times when their visionary legitimacy is questioned? For Margery Kempe, trying to prove herself as a viable candidate through martyrdom is a difficult task. Throughout her story, she is constantly having to prove herself to her community and to the church hierarchy, but it always comes at a cost. Consequently, Margery is ridiculed, taunted, and accused of many negative things, yet she stands firm in her belief that her gifts are real. The physical threats she receives, such as being burned, are all part of her performance. Although these gifts of visions and miracles are questionable, she is able to mold them in order to achieve her spiritual goals. In The Book of Margery Kempe, translated and edited by Lynn Staley, Margery gives the performance of a lifetime by using her visionary gift to spiritually manipulate her community and the church…show more content…
For example, in Chapter Fifteen, Margery approaches the Bishop of Lincoln in order to ask permission to wear a ring, due to her marriage with Christ, and to be permitted to wear white, but within her request, she makes it clear that, “‘And, if you clothe me on earth, our Lord Jesus Christ shall clothe you in heaven, as I understand by revelation’” (26). Therefore, Margery is rewarding the Bishop, through Christ, if he grants her permission to wear the white clothing and ring. She acts like she has the Bishop’s best interest at heart, but ultimately, she is putting on a spiritual performance by namedropping Christ in order to fulfill her wants. She cloaks it all in spirituality. Likewise, Tolhurst concludes that Margery also uses her “…intimate relationship with God…” as a way to prove that, spiritually, she is ranked higher (188). Therefore, by making this claim, the visionary is able to convince the clergy that if they help her, God will indeed help them in
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