Arthur Rackham’s (b. 1887-1939) influence in the history of illustration is undeniable. Many contemporary artists, illustrators, and filmmakers reveal obvious traces in their work of Rackham’s fantasy-driven style. Comus is a masque written by John Milton, the greatest English poet besides Shakespeare. Rackham may have felt an affinity to the great poet, as a fellow country-man. The masque is a semi-allegorical portrayal of sin, or temptation, in the character of Comus, and chastity or temperance, in the character of Lady. Despite Comus’s attempts to trick Lady into drinking a magical cup (representing sexual pleasure), Lady refuses to give in to the sinful Comus. Comus challenges Lady in various other ways, such as arguing that desire is natural to a human being, but Lady will not be seduced. The rest of the masque involves the Attendant Spirit, an angelic figure, 
who comes to rescue her.


Post a Comment