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This essay sets out to examine critically Beaumont’s representation of different audiences in his play The Knight of the Burning Pestle. The dominant critical tradition has it that the play is even-handed in its criticism of audiences, but the argument here is that different audience tastes are pitted against each other. The dominant motif is that treated seriously in, for example, Spenser’s The Faerie Queene and it is this tradition and its various deployments by different social groups that is placed under scrutiny in the play. As a result it is an established dramatic form that is placed under scrutiny as different audiences seek to appropriate it for their own purposes.
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