Knight of the Burning Pestle

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A comedy probably entirely by Beaumont, formerly generally attributed to Beaumont and Fletcher, probably performed 1607–8, printed (anonymously) 1613. The most successful of Beaumont's plays, it is a high‐spirited comedy of manners, and a burlesque of knight‐errantry, satirizing the middle‐class taste for such popular and improbable romances as Palmerin of England.

It takes the form of a play‐within‐a‐play: a grocer and his wife, members of an audience about to watch a drama called ‘The London Merchant’, interrupt the prologue to insist that their apprentice, Rafe, have a part. He therefore becomes a Grocer Errant, with a Burning Pestle portrayed on his shield, and undertakes various absurd adventures. These are interspersed with the real plot, in which Jasper, a merchant's apprentice, woos, and after much opposition wins, his master's daughter Luce.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).

Reference entries

Francis Beaumont (1584—1616) playwright

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