Study Guide

The Book of Margery Kempe Good versus Evil

By Margery Kempe

Good versus Evil

In the world of The Book of Margery Kempe, the struggle between good and evil is not obscure or philosophical. There is a devil, and there is a God. There are also demons that do the devil's dirty work, and they're active in everyone's life. Margery Kempe herself knows this firsthand, since she was once physically saved from the mouth of demons by the appearance of a surprisingly hot and handsome Jesus Christ. While this may seem like a comic book to many people today, it's a tangible way for many people to express their experience of psychomachia, or spiritual struggle. The difficulty, from Kempe's point of view, is that most people don't possess enough spiritual awareness to realize that they're in the middle of a battle for their own souls.

Questions About Good versus Evil

  1. In what forms does Kempe encounter evil? How about good?
  2. In what ways is the struggle between God and the devil external, rather than strictly within a person's soul, in this work?
  3. Why does Kempe get into a fight with Jesus about damnation? What does she have a hard time understanding?
  4. Why does Kempe seem to be most concerned with correcting people who curse or swear?

Chew on This

Kempe struggles with the concept of damnation because it challenges her belief that God is all good.

Kempe struggles personally with the sin of lechery but seems more worried about those who swear or curse, since that is a direct offense to the body of Christ.