Internet Shakespeare Editions


A family dinner

A family meal.

The husband and wife at the head and foot of the table, with the children arrayed on each side.

This is a simple household; nonetheless they are dressed in full Elizabethan finery. Note that the children are dressed as adults.

The main meal was usually served in the middle of the day, at twelve for the gentry, eleven for citizens. The good people of Ephesus, in the Comedy of Errors, are accustomed for a meal to be ready at eleven for by twelve the food is overcooked; Dromio of Ephesus comments indignantly:

The capon burns, the pig falls from the spit,
The clock hath strucken twelve upon the bell.

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