Although it was written shortly before or after Queen Elizabeth's deathin 1603 and performed by the boy company at Blackfriars, this playforeshadows the light ladies and callous gallants of Restorationcomedy. Passion is a scourge, love is humiliation, and friends might aswell be enemies. Freevill discards his concubine Franceschina and, fora joke, sets his straight-laced friend Malheureux on to her, who fallsfor her and promises to carry out her revenge on Freevill by killinghim. The play in the theatre, which is fully imagined in theintroduction to this edition, impresses on the audience thespuriousness of rigid moral persuasions, especially when they are triedby fits of sexual passion.
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