This chapter develops a hermeneutics of the masque adequate both to the distinctiveness of occasional drama and to the qualities it shares with other kinds of literature and theater. This chapter analyzes two Jacobean court masques less to explore the assertion or fracturing of power than to unpack how multiple modes of authority performatively negotiate the conditions of their own practices. Case studies include Jonson's Irish Masque at Court and For the Honour of Wales. In both masques, efforts to use drama to stabilize authority are deconstructed by the rich ambiguity inherent to both language and performance, highlighted by occasional circumstances of King James's Scots‐English dialect and Prince Charles's status as inheritor of the title from his dead brother.
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