Ballads and Performance: The Multimodal Stage in Early Modern England

"'Hear for your love, and buy for your money': Ballads and Theater as Experiential Commodities"

While Bonneau and Wong have similar interpretations of Michael and Mistress Merrythought’s song, they differ on how to understand Venturewell’s choice. Wong points to the association of the ballad’s tune with “ballads about crimes and executions” (which are typically sung to the tune titled “Fortune My Foe”) and argues that this seemingly inappropriate choice is comic (“A Dramaturgical Study,” 108). Bonneau, on the other hand, views the choice as one that matches Venturewell’s mood while revealing his outdated (and thus “conservative”) taste (“On Merrythought’s Singing,” 24).

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