Criticism: Race And Gender In The Masque - Essay

Suzanne Gossett (essay date 1988)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “‘Man-maid, begone!’: Women in Masque,” in English Literary Renaissance, Vol. 18, No. 1, Winter, 1988, pp. 96-113.

[In the following essay, Gossett explores the role of women in the masque, arguing that the views of royalty had a profound influence on how women were portrayed.]

The distance between an actor and the person he represents varies throughout theatrical history. At some times the relation is close: the actor is typecast or methodically lives the part. At other times the relation is remote. Brecht urged his actors not to identify with their roles; Greek actors wore masks. On the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage potentially different relations...

(The entire section is 8017 words.)

Yumna Siddiqi (essay date 1992)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Dark Incontinents: The Discourses of Race and Gender in Three Renaissance Masques,” in Renaissance Drama, Vol. 23, 1992, pp. 139-63.

[In the essay below, Siddiqi considers the treatment of gender and race in two court masques by Ben Jonson and a masque written for London merchants by Thomas Middleton.]

Colonial discourse is characterized by its capacity to harness a rhetoric of difference—construed in terms of race, culture, and morality—for a project of domination. During the first decades of the seventeenth century, Britain had but begun to colonize other territories. The rhetoric that underpinned its early colonizing ventures was not yet a fully...

(The entire section is 8580 words.)

Marion Wynne-Davies (essay date 1992)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “The Queen's Masque: Renaissance Women and the Seventeenth-Century Court Masque,” in Gloriana's Face: Women, Public and Private, in the English Renaissance, edited by S. P. Cerasano and Marion Wynne-Davies, Harverster Wheatsheaf, 1992, pp. 79-104.

[In the following essay, Wynne-Davies discusses gender politics and the masque of the Jacobean court, examining the masques written for Queen Anne and those written by Lady Mary Wroth.]


At Night we had the Queen's Maske in the Banquetting-House, or rather her Pagent.1

These are the words Dudley Carleton chose to describe ‘The...

(The entire section is 10881 words.)

Hope A. Parisi (essay date 1997)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “From Woman Warrior to Warrior Reasoner: Lady Alice and Intellectual Freedom in A Mask,” in Arenas of Conflict: Milton and the Unfettered Mind, edited by Kristin Pruitt McColgan and Charles W. Durham, Susquehanna University Press, 1997, pp. 93-106.

[In the essay below, Parisi examines the character Lady Alice from Milton's Comus and discusses the portrayal of women's ability to reason.]

The evaluation of Milton's women as reasoners stirs much of the debate for or against an implied feminism in the major poetry.1 The sure-spoken Lady of A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle provides an example. Combatting Comus, she quickly moves...

(The entire section is 6000 words.)

Gary Waller (essay date 1998)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “‘Like One in a Gay Masque’: The Sidney Cousins in the Theaters of Court and Country,” in Readings in Renaissance Women's Drama: Criticism, History, and Performance 1594-1998, edited by S. P. Cerasano and Marion Wynne-Davies, Routledge, 1998, pp. 234-45.

[In the following essay, Waller, a noted scholar on Jacobean playwright Mary Wroth, offers a detailed analysis of the gender politics in her work.]

As a woman in the Jacobean court, as a lady-in-waiting and occasional dancer, Mary Wroth played an appropriately decorative and silent part in the margins of the spectacle of the court; her primary role was simply to be seen, as a graceful, minor contributor...

(The entire section is 6674 words.)