The Seven Deadly Sins

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The Seven Deadly Sins is a concept found throughout the history of Christianity, often used as title and/or theme in works of art, including drama, film, media and performance.

Not to be confused with the Catholic doctrine of "Mortal Sin"[1]

The Seven Deadly Sins as concept

The so-called "seven deadly sins" (also known as "capital vices", or "cardinal sins") are not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, but refer to a group of vices often found in Christian teaching and mentioned in (or used as a theme in ) in literary and dramatic works. The sins mentioned usually refer to the sins of Pride, Envy, Wrath, Greed, Sloth, Gluttony and Lust.

For more on the origin and nature of the list of Deadly Sins, including their occurrence in the various art forms, see the entry on "Seven Deadly Sins" in Wikipedia at

The Seven Deadly Sins in theatre, film, media and performance

As a title The Seven Deadly Sins can refer to the a vast number of books and works of art, including a number of dramatic works, films and other performance forms. There are of course also a number of other works using the seven deadly sins as theme, but with another title.

Among the works bearing the title The Seven Deadly Sins are:

The Seven Deadly Sins attributed to Richard Tarlton (c. 1585)

The original text

A two-part play in the tradition of the medieval morality play, written c. 1585 and attributed to Richard Tarlton, whose company, Queen Elizabeth's Men, first performed it.

Performances in South Africa

The Seven Deadly Sins- Seven One-act Plays by Thornton Wilder

The original text

A series of short works depicting the complexity and consequences of human frailty, comprising the plays The Drunken Sisters (Gluttony), Bernice (Pride), The Wreck on the 5:25 (Sloth), A Ringing of Doorbells (Envy), In Shakespeare and the Bible (Wrath), Someone From Assisi (Lust) and Cement Hands (Avarice).

Thornton Wilder (1897–1975) [2] worked on this idea during the late ’50s and early ’60s, a period when he was much taken the artistic promise of theater-in-the-round. The first performed was Someone from Assisi (Lust) at the Circle in the Square Theatre in New York during in 1961-1962.

For more on the plays see, the official website of the Thornton Wilder family.

Performances in South Africa

For performances put on in South Africa, see the entries on the individual plays.

The Seven Deadly Sins by Hennie Aucamp and Barry Strydom

The original text

An English text of a South African cabaret/"morality" by Hennie Aucamp and Barry Strydom, originally written in Afrikaans as Die Sewe Doodsondes

Performances in South Africa

See: Die Sewe Doodsondes.

Other dramatic works with this title

In more recent times a number of shorter plays called The Seven Deadly Sins, depicting the seven sins, have also been written by inter alia Ron Vandenburg[3], Simon Denver[4],


The Seven Deadly Sins (play) in Wikipedia[5]

Playscript [Typescript (photocopy)], CAMPBELL Location: [Collection: DALRO]: 2001. 41. 269 held by NELM.

Database: Amazwi - manuscripts.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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