King-led outlaw defiance, riotous lords of misrule, proud midsummer mock kings, and stately Inns-of-Court princes: in diverse ways all were reflections of the dominant social order in the Medieval and Tudor periods and, as this book shows, all influenced the writings of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Mock Kings considers kingship in the light of contemporary accounts of elected kings in outlaw and rebel groups, and compares them with the phenomenon of festive mock kings. The result is a complex picture of interrelation between festive and more serious opposition to the dominant order, as well as the discovery of a midsummer mock-king play tradition. The second part of the book considers the professional theatre from the late 1580s to the mid-Jacobean period, and demonstrates that mock-king patterns, found in less literary contexts, form the structure of many scripted plays. The popularity of some of the minor dramas is understood for the first time when their festive patterns are identified and, by contrast, Shakespeare's genius in transforming inherited structures into complex works of art is thrown into relief. The book shows that serious reflection on the nature of kingship was maintained throughout Renaissance drama.Billington, Sandra is the author of 'Mock Kings in Medieval Society and Renaissance Drama' with ISBN 9780198119678 and ISBN 0198119674.