Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Kallich, Martin, 1918-2006||Burtness, Paul S.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of English


Milton; John; 1608-1674. Comus


Masques, as a kind, are inescapably symbolical. The peculiar relation borne by the work of art to real happenings and meanings—-symbolized, rather than described, or dramatically viewed—-is borne by the action itself, by what we call in a play the plot, writes Rosemund Tuve. Proceeding on the assumption that the plot of a masque may have some reference to an actual event, can any historical evidence be found which will help to explain the theme used by Milton in his masque which is now usually referred to as Comus? Explanations as to why Milton used the triumph of chastity over lust as the theme of this masque have been many and varied. Perhaps the oldest theory, and one which is still held, is that the masque is based on an event in the Bridgewater family for whom the masque was written and performed. The story is told that the daughter of the First Earl of Bridgewater, Lady Alice Egerton, became lost in the forest near Ludlow and that Hilton wrote his masque around this event.


Includes bibliographical references.


61 pages




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