Ben Jonson: Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue

(1006 words)

Ben Jonson's masque Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue was first staged before King James I in the Banqueting House of Whitehall Palace on 6 January 1618. The event marked the acting debut of Prince Charles (the future Charles I), who also served as the masque’s official sponsor. The performance famously failed to impress King James. Jonson composed the text and Inigo Jones designed the scenery and costumes.

The scenic design is dominated by an anthropomorphic Mount Atlas, made to resemble the head of a grey-haired man. The action opens with Comus, the god of festivities, entering surrounded by his supporters. This is followed by the first anti-masque, which features dancing bottles and a cask. Hercules, the demigod and hero o…

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Vyroubalova, Ema. "Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 May 2013
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]