Close examination of the antimasques of the Stuart masque from the perspective of dance reveals the continuing political significance of a section often deemed merely entertaining. Rather than oppositional (on the part of poets or court patrons) to the king’s governance, suggesting the weaknesses of the monarch’s control, I argue that the antimasque entries portrayed the fallible nation for whom the king had paternal care. While the first antimasque figures (of witches and satyrs) were emblematic, later characters soon presented stereotypes of the ordinary people of England, particularly London. In fact, the satyrs of Oberon 1611 were at heart a group of mildly subversive men and boys. Selected examples from 1613 to 1640 will indicate the range of types and the political meaning of each group, for example the bawds, tavern keepers and beggars of The Triumph of Peace 1634.