Ever since its initial publication, the commercial failure of Francis Beaumont's drama The Knight of the Burning Pestle (1607) at the Blackfriars theater has been attributed to a variety of reasons, many of them related to the play's satire of the seemingly uncultured Citizen and his wife. These characters' interactions in the drama's scripted interludes reveal, however, a surprisingly intimate familiarity with contemporary practices of the public theaters, a point I establish through an examination of music, dance, and drink, aspects of the theater that are all ultimately enfolded in and validated through the final entr'acte's representation of May Day. When due attention is granted to the play's interludes, I argue, Beaumont's drama appears to subtly satirize both the citizenry and the Blackfriars' upper-class audience, thus obfuscating its ostensible satirical aim and perhaps explaining the failure of The Knight's debut.


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pp. 474-495
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