The Knight of the Burning Pestle

Definition

Theater

  • A comedy written by Francis Beaumont for the boy companyat the Blackfriars Theatre, London; it was first performed in 1607.The play lampoons both the pretensions of the rising middle classand the genre of romantic and fabulous histories.

    The plot concerns the adventures of a grocer named Rafe andhis wife, who are watching a play in which they are urged to participateby the cast. Rafe joins in as a "Grocer-Errant, the Knight of theBurning Pestle" and defeats the monstrous barber-surgeon Barberoo;although he wins the heart of Princess Pomponia, he keeps his vowof fidelity to the maid Susan "as long as life and pestle last".The noble Grocer-Errant is killed by a forked arrow through his headbut his soul ascends to the Grocers' Hall; Rafe and his wife leavethe theater having invited the players to their house for wine andtobacco.

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