Fantasy and the Jonsonian Masque
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CitationJabeen, F. (2010). Fantasy and the Jonsonian Masque . BRAC University Journal , Special Issue(01), 39–47.
This paper highlights Jonson's portrayal of contemporary psychology of fantasy where absurd ideas vanish and the positive aspects of reality and beauty exist. To portray this “paradoxical” approach to fantasy, Jonson took the help of “masques”, which were a popular literary form of Elizabethan period. Apparently, the masque proper was seen to represent fantasy while the anti-masque took the side of reality. However, these roles change as we go deep into the text of The Masque of Queens and The Vision of Delight. Also, the historical background of writing the masques as a way to praise the 'country order' of King James helps the masques to reside beyond the grip of only amusement and fantasy. The word 'fantasy' has a profound positive place in Jonson's masques: it is by no means a vague or derailed flow of wild dreams. The paper examines The Masque of Queens is an expression of 'grotesque' rather than “fearsome”. It also explores how the allegorical and historical figures of Heroic Virtue and Fame in masque proper highlight the constructive part of fantasy as well as the fantastic images of The Vision of Delight that are funny, entertaining and benevolent. The paper makes a comparative study of Jonson and Shakespeare and shows how Jonson creates anti-masque as „wayward fantasy‟, which only threatens the nobler fantasy represented by the stability and order of reason, whereas in Shakespeare anti-masque takes the place of main masque. If fantasy is the storehouse of sensory images then needs reason to distinguish between the merely empty and valid impressions.