It has been recognized for some time that the fifteenth-century morality play Wisdom contains within its universal message, inspired by mystical writings, an element of contemporary political satire. David Bevington, in an important article, drew attention to the way in which the fall from grace experienced by the three Mights of the Soul; Mind, Will and Understanding, is characterized by their abandonment of the contemplative life in favour of the worldly vices of maintenance, perjury and lechery.’ Bevington, among others, considered the adoption of these debased conditions to be a generalized warning against the secular ambitions of some clerics. Although not agreeing with his identification of the Mights with the clergy, Milton Gatch similarly considered the satire in Wisdom to be ‘general and conventional’ without ‘pointed allusion to legal problems peculiar to the fifteenth century’. 2 This view of the role of the satirical content of Wisdom as non-specific has never been seriously questioned, even though it is a view of the play perhaps more blurred by time than most. What to a modern critic may look like ‘general and conventional’ references to politics in a text might well appear in performance to a contemporary audience as specific and concrete examples of political corruption and legal injustice. It is not unusual for satire to avoid overt identification of the objects of its criticism. It is both safer for the writer and more enjoyable for the audience if the identification is made through allusion and innuendo. What is necessary in these circumstances is that the audience, in the form of their everyday experience, brings to the performance the context that makes the references topical and particular. Once this active ingredient in the reception of a play is no longer current the satire in the text inevitably appears general. This could be what has happened to the satiric element of Wisdom, although in this case it may be possible to recover the source of the satire.