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Broken HarmonyShakespeare and the Politics of Music$
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Joseph M. Ortiz

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449314

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449314.001.0001

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The Reforming of Reformation

The Reforming of Reformation

Milton’s A Maske

(p.213) Chapter 6 The Reforming of Reformation
Broken Harmony

Joseph M. Ortiz

Cornell University Press

This chapter suggests that Milton's conception of music and knowledge in his early writings elucidates a subtle, but ardent, defense of figuration in A Maske—one that powerfully answers the radically deconstructive approach to music taken by Shakespeare. A Maske represents earthly music both as a heavily mediated form and as an indispensable component of human understanding. Moreover, in some ways strikingly similar to Shakespeare, Milton expresses this complex attitude toward music and figuration through a concurrent exploration of theatricality and Ovidian typology. Like music, Ovidian poetry and theatricality are frequently characterized in Renaissance England as opaque, indirect forms of representation. Milton also emphasizes the performative and dynamic aspects of theater, Ovid, and music in A Maske, thereby demonstrating their shared status as intensely sensuous and imperfect modes of apprehending truth.

Keywords:   Milton, A Maske, music, knowledge, Shakespeare, Ovid

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