*England. Greene’s idealistic portrait of a benevolently democratic English aristocracy may reflect the outburst of patriotism in England following the 1588 defeat of the Spanish Armada. Also indicative of this nationalistic theme are Friar Bacon’s plan to build a protective brass wall around England and his humiliation of the German emperor’s necromancer Jaques Vandermast. A noteworthy aspect of Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay is how it brings together royalty, nobility, and commoners, preserving some traditional class barriers but breaking through others.
Fressingfield Park. Royal hunting preserve in Suffolk, where the play opens as the Prince of Wales and his entourage have been hunting deer before stopping for refreshment at the keeper’s lodge. There the prince falls in love with the keeper’s daughter, Margaret.
*Oxford. English town that is the seat of one of the country’s great universities. The play’s action moves between Fressingfield, a local fair, the Court of England, and Oxford, with Oxford clearly the showplace of the nation’s superior accomplishments and intellectual pursuits. While the Prince of Wales travels to Oxford—disguised as a gentleman in waiting—to seek the advice of Friar Bacon, and the friar himself conjures wonders and contemplates exotic feats, Margaret and friends go to Harleston Fair. As the king and his guests set out for Oxford, Friar Bacon sees through the prince’s disguise as he strolls the streets of Oxford, shows him Margaret being courted and won by a go-between, and magically stops their wedding by transporting Friar Bungay to Oxford.