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The difference between Ben Jonson's symbology in Masque of Blacknesse and the symbology expressed by King James's political writing is a form of resistance. The encyclopedias of emblems in the period postulate a clear, universally accessible, direct Neo-Platonic connection of symbol and meaning. King James insists that this connection is not readily apparent and that the symbols require skilled interpretation in order to generate their fixed meaning. Jonson creates symbols that are not bound by a single fixed meaning despite interpretive efforts. This attention to differences in symbology provides fresh ways of understanding recent scholarship on issues of performance, race, and religion.