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  Carnival was a loosely theatrical if not dramatic form during the Middle Ages, a kind of street theatre through which the populace could entertain themselves and challenge the ecclesiastical and feudal hierarchies. There was no clear distinction between the actors and the spectators. Carnival was incorporated more formally into Renaissance drama, and has been particularly identified as a strategy in Shakespearean comedies, whereby the power of Elizabethan society could be challenged, but ultimately reabsorbed in order to reinforce that power. More recently, the idea of the carnivalesque has been used to produce theatre which can covertly oppose political power. TRG SS

See also theatre.Further reading M. Bakhtin, Rabelais and his World; , C.L. Barber, Shakespeare\'s Festive Comedy.



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