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Theatre / Comus

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Lost in the woods where Comus lurks

Some say no evil thing that walks by night,
In fog or fire, by lake or moorish fen,
Blue meagre hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost,
That breaks his magic chains at curfew time,
No goblin or swart faery of the mine,
Hath hurtful power o'er true virginity.

Comus: A Mask is a play written by John Milton, about a woman captured by Comus, a minor god of wine and lust, and rescued by her two brothers and a beneficient spirit in disguise.

The plot is similar to Circe trying to trap Odysseus in The Odyssey, but with the genders reversed.

Full text here.

Tropes featured:

  • Arcadia: Both Comus and the Attendent Spirit appear as shepherds.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The power, of course, of Comus's mother Circe, and of Comus himself, who enchants his victims so that they have the heads of animals.
  • Commonality Connection: Between Sabrina and the Lady.
  • Cool, Clear Water: Sabrina's actual introduction is preceded by a description of how calm and beautiful the lake she guards is, so the reader already kind of knows that she's a good person.
  • Dances and Balls: Comus urges his followers to this.
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  • Deity of Human Origin: Sabrina, the goddess of the river Severn.
  • Healing Herb: The spirit attributes its knowledge to a shepherd boy who knows this.