Breaking the Fourth Wall : Metatheatricality in Thomas Middleton and William Rowley’s The World Tossed at Tennis



Year of publication 2020
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The World Tossed at Tennis is a masque commissioned by Prince Charles who hired Thomas Middleton and William Rowley to write a piece which would persuade his father, King James I, to become involved in the Thirty Years’ War and help his daughter and Charles’s sister Elizabeth of Bohemia and her husband Frederick V to regain governance over the Palatinate. Middleton and Rowley wrote the masque to convince the King to take an active part in the Protestant cause. To achieve this, they employ, apart from more common means, metatheatrical devices. They let their characters communicate directly with the audience and empower it, bring attention to the performances of the actors, etc. This paper will look into these metatheatrical devices and try to explain how they work and in what ways they shape the relationship of the audience to the King.
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