A Queen and a Masque: Anne of Denmark’s Political Aims in Samuel Daniel’s The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses


In recent years, scholars have laid the foundations for reconsideration and a new interpretation of the figure of Anne of Denmark (1665-1714) and her cultural and political role – being variously influenced by the approaches of new historicism and gender studies (see Barroll 2001; McManus 2002). By focusing on the role she played in the staging of Samuel Daniel’s The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses, which is the first masque commissioned by the queen as it was performed on the evening of 8 January 1604 in the Great Hall of Hampton Court, the present paper aims to explore how, in early modern England, her political identity is strictly connected with theatre. Indeed, the analysis of the structure of the masque intends to shed light on Anne’s will to affirm her own agency, in relation to the peculiar use that she made of it as a means to respond to a specific social and political objective; thus, to convey, both symbolically and allegorically, a new political vision, subtly constructed on the idea of herself and of her court as the centre of a power inscribed within a hierarchical model that required subordination to the authority of the sovereign, but fundamentally autonomous and understood as complementary to that of the king.

Author Information
Paolo Pepe, eCampus University of Novedrate, Italy

Paper Information
Conference: IICAH2023
Stream: Literature/Literary Studies

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon