The Tempest: Spectacles of Disenchantment
We begin therefore with direct evidence that The Tempest was performed as a piece of court entertainment in the presence of the king himself. Eighteen months later the play was included, together with The Winter’s Tale, in a programme of fourteen plays performed at court as part of the elaborate festivities preceding the marriage of James’s daughter Elizabeth to the Elector Palatine. The presence within The Tempest of a formal wedding masque has led to speculation that the play may have been targeted specifically at this later occasion, and that the masque may possibly have been a later incorporation. That hypothesis is unnecessary, as a number of scholars have shown: but the theory testifies to a real awareness that this play can be located with unprecedented certainty into the cultural structures of the Jacobean court; and that within those structures it may well have experienced a dependence or contextualization on significant seasonal dates or important festival occasions that would have been quite irrelevant to its other life in the day-to-day provision of dramatic entertainment at the Globe or the Blackfriars.
KeywordsJacobean Performance Colonial Experience Public Theatre Court Performance Attempted Rape
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