Background of She stoops to Conquer by oliver Goldsmith
She stoops to Conquer is a late 18th century play written by an Irish author oliver Goldsmith It is a play of mistaken identities, practical jokes and plots-within-plots. It was fint performed in Londo the Covent Garden Theatre on 15 March 1773 and was a huge success. It attracted an applause that was first of its kind in the London theatre, and almost immediately entered the repertory of respectable theatre companies. Within a decade, the play travelled both throughout the European continent and to the United States. She Stoops to Conquer can be described as a comedy of manners in which high-bom characters make fools of themselves trying to preserve their dignity, when in actuality they behav ways more fitting of the lower classes. Perhaps the play retells Goldsmith’s own experiences abroad basking across Europe after barely obtaining a college degree, as can be deduced from the following memorable lines:
Let school-masters puzzle their brain, With grammar and nonsense, and learning Good liquor l stoutly maintain. Gives genius a better discerning. (p 6)
At the time of She Stoops to Conquer, popular theatre comedy was separated into what was commonly termed “sentimental comedy” and “laughing comedy.” The former was concerned with
bourgeois (middle-class) morality and praising virtue. The latter, which dated back to the Greeks and Romans and through Shakespeare, was more willing to engage in Tow” humour the vice. In the prologue to the play, for instance, Woodward suggests that a certain class of actor (and by extension, then, audience and writer) were dying out as sentimental comedy became more popular,
play has an extra purpose: it must rejuvenate the joy taken in “laughing which could be willing to be more stupid, to dramatize base characters and characteristics, and to mock even the characters who profess to be moral
of refined Written essentially to entertain, but Goldsmith also satirizes the “vanity and affectation” 18th a society preoccupied with an idealized view of mankind, attempting to create this
century themes are to this, to ideas of real rough appearance and “fine manners. The play themes are link to this idea of what is real and what is false or As the elegant of Marlow says, owe too much to the the world, too much to the authority father …”(p. 43).
By the time Goldsmith’s play debuted in the late-18th century, England had undergone great political, economic, and social transformations. This period marked a period of great transition for England between 1640 and 1688, the nation fought a civil war, executed its king, and restored its monarchy it then established a government which balanced power between monarch and parliament. England had also fought a series of wars with the United Dutch Provinces and France, setting the stage for the dominance as a colonial power. The American Revolution loomed on the horizon, but historians agree that the loss of the colonies had limited political or economic impact. England became
increasingly prosperous nation occupying a central position on the world stage. These changes created what came to be known as the “marriage market,” which provides the backdrop for She Stoops
Oliver Goldsmith’s She ops to Conquer provokes laughter often at situations that are quite serious. Parent/child relationships and marriage stand at the centre of Goldsmith’s play, as the character attempt to strike some balance between authority and freedom, obedience and independence. While Goldsmith treats these themes light-heartedly, the play’s humour conceals a sombre undercurrent Simply put, the comedy asks how, at a time when many people married for money rather than love, can marriage join people who are both economically and emotionally compatible?
Initially titled the Mistakes of a Night, and indeed, the events within the play take place in one lo night, but perhaps due to evoking too strongly Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Goldsmith re-titled the play She Stoops to Conquer. The title refers to Kate’s nuse of pretending to be a barmaid to reach her goal. It originates in the poetry of Dryden, which Goldsmith may have seen misquoted Lord Chesterfield. In Chesterfield’s version, the lines in question read: “The prostrate lover, when he lowest lies, But stoops to conquer, and but kneels to rise. For those who believe the play’s plot seems too far-fetched, Oscar James Campbell noted i introduction to Chief Plays of Goldsmith and Sheridan: The School for Scandal. She Stoops Conquer The Rivals that the “central idea of She Stoops to Conquer was suggested to Goldsmith by an incident of his boyhood. He had been told that the house of Mr Featherstone a was an inn and directed there for entertainment, Goldsmith, always easily deceived by a practical joke, had gone to the squire’s house and him as a host. Out of this situation grew his characters and their games of cross-purpose autobiographical elements in the play include resemblances between the young, vagabond Goldsmith who spent two years on a walking tour of Europe and the irresponsible, irrepressible Tony Lumpkin. Finally, Goldsmith, like his character Marlow, was at ease with serving women, but stiffin the company of proper ladies, in part because of insecurities about his physical appearance one of the few from the 18th century to have an enduring appeal, and is still regularly performed today. It has been adapted into a film several times, including in 1914 and 1923. Perhaps one
of the most famous incarnations of “She Stoops to Conquer” was Peter version, staged in 1993 and starring Miriam Margolyes as Mrs Hardcastle. The most famous production is the 1971 version featuring Ralph Richardson, Tom Courtenay, Juliet Mills and Brian Cox
with Trevor Peacock as Tony Lumpkin. It was shot on location near Ross on Wye, Herefordshire and is part of the BBC archive