The sheep Mak steals from the three shepherds—Coll, Gyb, and Daw—symbolizes Christ, the Lamb of God. Wrapped in swaddling clothes and visited by three shepherds bearing gifts, the sheep represents the Christ child in the classic nativity story. The stolen sheep—and the shepherds’ decision to bring it gifts when they think it is a baby—also foreshadows the shepherds’ journey to Bethlehem to bring gifts for Christ. Serving as a link between the comic and religious plotlines, the sheep reveals a deeper purpose to the farcical first part of the play and infuses the entire play with a sense of cohesiveness and religious meaning.
Sheep Quotes in The Second Shepherd’s Play
I am worthy of my meat, / For in a trice I can get / More than they who strive and sweat / All the day long.
Were a worse plight, I’d find a way still.
Oh, my belly! I die! / I vow to God so mild / If ever I you beguiled / Then I will eat this child / That doth in cradle lie!
Sirs, for this deed, take my advice instead / For this trespass. / We will neither curse not fight / Nor dispute our right / We’ll tie him up tight / And toss him in canvas.