(Critical Survey of Literature, Revised Edition)

The most entertaining part of this drama is the subplot, which is concerned with the action, or inaction, of d’Olive, a fluent, self-assured fop. D’Olive’s ill-fated mission to France is a satire on certain English embassies of the seventeenth century that were distinguished by magnificent preparations and long delays. Also ridiculed is King James’s wholesale creation of knights. Although these events are of little interest today, Chapman’s treatment of them retains its power to amuse, mainly because of the delightful character of d’Olive.