‘The Knight of the Burning Pestle’ by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher


The Knight of the Burning Pestle is a five-act pastiche play. It is a satire on chivalric romances in general, similar to Don Quixote, and frequently breaks the fourth wall. I play the Tapster and the 2nd Soldier. Summary from Librivox:

As a play called “The London Merchant” is about to be performed, a Citizen and his Wife “in the audience” interrupt and demand that the players put on a play of their own choosing and suggest that their apprentice, Rafe, should have a part in the play as a knight errant. He refers to himself as the “Grocer Errant” and has a burning pestle on his shield as a heraldic device. This meta-fictional plot is intercut with the main plot of the interrupted play, where Jasper Merrythought, the merchant’s apprentice, is in love with his master’s daughter, Luce, and must elope with her to save her from the arranged marriage with Humphrey, a “swell” or City man of fashion. Meanwhile Jasper’s mother has decided to leave her husband Old Merrythought, who, in an apparent mid-life crisis, has spent all his savings in drinking and partying.

The Knight of the Burning Pestle by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher


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