Sock and buskin

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Comedy and tragedy masks, sometimes called "Sock and Buskin"

The sock and buskin (also known as the drama masks or theatrical masks) are two ancient symbols of comedy and tragedy. In ancient Greek theatre, actors in tragic roles wore a boot called a buskin (Latin cothurnus). The actors with comedic roles wore only 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."[1]

In modern times, they have been used as an iconographic representation of theatre as a whole.


  1. ^ Charles Mackay (1887). A Glossary of Obscure Words and Phrases in the Writings of Shakspeare and His Contemporaries Traced Etymologically to the Ancient Language of the British People as Spoken Before the Irruption of the Danes and Saxons. S. Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington. p. 48.