Sock and Buskin

The sock and buskin are two ancient symbols of comedy and tragedy. In Greek theatre, actors in tragic roles wore a boot called a buskin (Latin cothurnus) that elevated them above the other actors. The actors with comedic roles only wore a thin soled shoe called a sock (Latin soccus).

Melpomene, the muse of tragedy, is often depicted holding the tragic mask and wearing buskins. Thalia, the muse of comedy, is similarly associated with the mask of comedy and comic’s socks. Some people refer to the masks themselves as “Sock and Buskin”.

Accordingly, several theatre organizations are known by the name:

References

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