From Court to Playhouse and Back: Middleton's Appropriation of the Masque
Keywords:court masque, antimasque, transformation, torch-bearers, Revenger's Tragedy, Women Beware Women, The Changeling, Your Five Gallants
Bringing a thorough study of court masques to bear on reoriented readings of The Revenger’s Tragedy, Women Beware Women, The Changeling, and the lesser known Your Five Gallants, I show that Thomas Middleton’s intimate knowledge of the Jacobean court masque enables him to exploit its conventions, iconography, and structural functions for use in the playhouse. Middleton confidently ‘deconstructs’ masque dramaturgy to create a masque episode which encapsulates the play’s overarching theme and engineers the resolution. At the same time, by subverting the very device used to represent the court to the world, he subtly critiques king and court.
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