Critical Analysis of She stoops to Conquer by oliver Goldsmith
Plot Account of She Stoops to Conquer
She Stoops to Conquer starts with a prologue in which an actor mourns the death of the classical low comedy at the altar of sentimental, “mawkish” comedy. He hopes that Dr Goldsmith can remedy this problem through the play about to be presented. Country gentleman Mr Hardcastle wishes to marry off his daughter Kate to his very respectable friend’s son, Young Marlow. An exciting and romantic night is anticipated at Mr Hardcastle’s country home for this purpose. Kate is to be visited by her father’s choice of a husband for her, young Marlow, the son of Sir Charles Marlow, Mr Hardcastle’s oldest friend. Kate has not yet seen her intended with
his to come young Mr Hastings to call on his sweetheart Constance Neville, Mrs Hardcastle’s niece and Kate’s dearest friend. Mrs Hardcastle hopes for a match between her son, Tony Lumpkin, Kate’s Half brother, and Constance, though both Constance and Tony detest each other. Marlow and Hastings, having lost their way during the post-chaise trip from the city, stop for directions at the Three Pigeons Tavern where Tony, as usual, is whiling away the evening with drink, flirtations and practical jokes. On hearing the travellers’ destination, Tony gets the inspiration for what nceives to be a great prank: he tells Marlow and Hastings that they can never reach the Hardcastle home at night over the dangerous path that lies before them, and that, since the Three Pigeons is crowded, they had best go a mile farther to Buck’s Head, easily identified by a pair of horns on the door He advises them to drive into the yard “and call stoutly about you.” The young men thank him and leave, unaware that Tony has, in reality, sent them to the Hardcastles’ home.
Upon arrival, Marlow and Hastings believe Mr Hardcastle to be the innkeeper, and they brusquely about, demanding supper and ignoring his attempts at a host’s affability. Marlow insists upon going upstairs to inspect his bed personally, and while he is absent, Constance walks into the room. When Hastings asks what she is doing at the “inn,” she exposes the hoax. Hastings warns Constance that the sensitive Marlow must not be allowed to learn the truth, for he might leave at once, humiliated because of his rude conduct, and so spoil their plans
These plans provide for the elopement of Hastings and Constance-just as soon she does so possession of her fortune in jewels which Mrs Hardcastle has carefully locked up. Until they decide to continue to carry out Tony’s fraud, Hastings telling Marlow that, by chance, Constance and Kate also are guests at the inn. But the meeting of Marlow and Kate is hardly for the bashful Marlow blushes and stammers stupid compliments. Kate later tells her father that she will have
Hif wkward address, his bashful manner, his hesitating timidity, struck me at first sight. Her father is amazed at her words. Says he: “Then your first sight deceived you, child, for I think him one most brazen sights that ever astonished my senses. He met me with a loud voice, a lordly air a familiarity that made my blood freeze.” He and Kate agree to await further developments before pronouncing judgement on Marlow’s true nature, and Kate disguises herself as a maid. Marlow, looking.her closely for the first time, assumes her to be “a female of the other class” with which he has never been ill at ease, and he becomes the assured gallant. He tries to kiss her.
Kate protests: “Pray, Sir, keep your distance I’m sure you did not treat Miss Hardcastle that was here a while ago in this obstreperous manner.” Marlow replies airily: “Who cares for Miss Hardcastle mere awkward, squinting thing
But you He tries again to embrace her Kate escapes, but not before the irate Mr Hardcastle has arrived to see the scuffle. He demands that Marlow leave his house at once. Marlow tells him to bring his bill and make no more words about it. Mr Hardcastle replies:
Young man, from your father’s letter to me, I was taught to expect a well-bred, modest man, but now l find you no better than a coxcomb and a bully! But Sir Charles will be down here presently and you shall hear more of it!” In bewilderment, Marlow calls to the “barmaid,” Kate, to clear up the muddle.
She tells him that he is, indeed, in the Hardcastle home, and that she lives there as “a poor relation Marlow, covered with mortification, is prepared to leave at once, but begins to realize his maid, and Kate begins to suspect that he is, after all, quite bearable
In the meantime, the romance ofHastings and Constance is not doing well. To clear the path for their elopement, the helpful Tony, who wants Constance out of the way because she is a threat thas stolen her jewels from Mrs Hardcastle and has given them to Hasting For safekeeping, Hastings has passed them along to Marlow. Marlow, who has thought Mrs Hardcastle only the landlady of the inn has tamed them over to .her to take care of She thus learns of Constance’s intended elopement. To put an end to this plan and forward ber hope that Tony shall be Constance’s husband, Mrs Hardcastle orders Constance off to her Aunt Pedigree’s, summoning Tony to drive Constance and herself there at Once. Tony agrees, and the three start off into the night.
Then Sir Charles arrives. He joins with Mr Hardcastle in a hearty laugh over his son’s bewilderment though they assume that the youth, by now, is wholly aware of the truth. But young Marlow still thinks the maid and Kate are different persons, and when twitted by Mr. Hardcastle over his ardent behaviour toward his daughter, replies: “By all that’s just and true, sir, l never gave Miss Hardcastle the slightest mark of my attachment.” He leaves the room, and now the fathers are completely bewildered. They ask Kate if Marlow has made love to her. “I must say he has,” she declares. The fathers decide to watch when the young folk meet again, and they hear Marlow, still believing Kate to be the poor relation, declare his love for her and offer marriage. The two men come forward to reproach him for is hypocrisy, and Hardcastle says: “What have you to say for yourself now, young man you can a lady in private and deny it in public; you have one story for us and another for my daughter Marlow then learns that the maid, in reality, is Kate. He can only say:
Oh the devil” The tangle now unravelled, the young people are happily betrothed
Good fortune also comes to Hastings and Constance. The irrepressible of taking party to Aunt Pedigree’s, has driven them for hours around the hardcastle ground, jouncing through every mud-hole to make the trip more miserable, before finally bringing the carriage to a halt at the end
f the Hardcastle garden. The exhausted Mrs. Hardcastle is in no mood to reproach Tony or even to oppose the match between Hastings and Constance, although she does insist upon retaining released to jewels. A condition of the custody of Constance’s fortune, however, is that the jewels shall be Llbought
ber if Tony, upon coming of age, refuses to mamy her Mr Hardcastle then tells Tony: “While Iilulu In mndurf to your improvement, I concurred with your mothers desire to keep it secret. But since I find that she turns it to a wrong use, I must now declare that you have been of age these three months.”
“Then,” says Tony, “you’ll see the first use I’ll make of my liberty.” He formally renounces Constance, removing the last barrier to the double match. Constance and Hastings, her true love, then get engaged There are two epilogues generally printed to the play, one ofwhich sketches in metaphor Goldsmith’s attempt to bring comedy back to its traditional roots, and the other of which suggests Tony Lumpkin has adventures yet to be realized
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
She Stoops to Conquer: Summary
Prologue Mr. Woodward, a contemporary comic actor, walks on stage weeping at the death of comedy. His last hope is that Goldsmith’s play will make him laugh and
revive the comic arts. (This prologue was written by the era’s foremost actor and producer, David Garrick).
Act I, Scene i
Mr. Hardcastle has selected for his daughter’s husband someone neither have met, the son of his old friend, Sir
Charles Marlow. Kate fears she will not like him because her father described him as handsome but reserved.
Act I, Scene ii
At the Three Pigeons Tavem, Hardcastle’s
stepson, Tony Lumpkin, sings with his drinking buddies. The landlord interrupts, saying that two London gentlemen have lost their way. As a joke, Tony tells the men, Marlow and Hastings, that they remain far from their destination, Hardcastle’s house. Then, Tony directs them lo his stepfather’s house, describing it as an inn, run by an eccentric innkeeper who fancies
himself a gentleman.
Act II, Scene i
Hardcastle expects a visit from his prospective son-in-law, Marlow, and explains to the servants how they are to behave. Because the Hardcastles seldom see company, their servants are farmhands and become confused
when Hardcastle explains their duties.
Marlow explains to Hastings that while he can be affable and boisterous with serving women and barmaids, he remains painfully shy among proper ladies. Tricked by Tony, Marlow and Hastings mistake Hardcastle for a common innkeeper. Instead of treating him
like a country gentleman, they behave rudely.
Hastings meets Miss Constance Neville, the niece of Mrs. Hardcastle, and is surprised to find her in an inn.
She corrects his mistake, explaining that this is not the Buck’s Head Inn but Hardcastle’s house. Hastings urges
her to elope with him. Constance hedges,
reluctant to leave behind her inheritance of jewels, which Mrs. Hardcastle greedily guards. Hastings approves of her plan to get the jewels but suggests they tell
Marlow nothing. Hastings fears that if the reserved Marlow discovers that the mansion is not an inn, his embarrassment would drive him to leave, disrupting the lovers’ plan.
Themes of She Stoops to Conquer
Analysis of the Theme of Class and class bias In She Stoops to Conquer
Class and class bias
She Stoops to Conquer is not explicitly a study on class but the theme is central to it. The decisions the characters make and their perspectives on one another, are all largely based on what class they are a part Where Tony openly loves low-class people like the drunks in the Three Pigeons, Marlow must hide his love of low-class women from his father and “society.” His dynamic relationship with Kate (and the way he treats her) is defined by who he thinks she is at the time from high-class Kate to a poor barmaid to a woman from a good family but with no fortune. Hastings’ and Marlow’s reaction to Hardcastle is also a great example of the importance of class they find him impudent and absurd, because they believe him to be of low class, but his behaviour would be perfectly reasonable and expected from member of the upper class, as he truly is. Class bias manifests in the way some of the characters respond to one another and situations. For instance, until Kate
teaches him a lesson, Marlow responds to women solely on the basis of their status in society. He looks down on women of the lower class but is wholly at ease around them: he esteems women of the upper class but shy around them. Like the London society in which he was brought up, he assumes that all women of a certain class think and act according to artificial and arbitrary standards expected of that class. As for Mrs Hardcastle, she appea to assess a person by the value of his or her possessions.
Analysis of the Theme of Class, power and social status In She Stoops to Conquer
Class, power and social status
Class, power and social status can be examined by comparatively looking at men vs. women; parents vs. children; rich vs. poor; young vs. old. Whilst our sex is decided at birth, our gender is much more about society’s views of masculinity and femininity. In the play, Goldsmith makes us laugh at the way men and women, as fathers, mothers, lovers, young and old, rich and poor behave but in doing so he also raises important questions about society. Consider the presentation of the differing relationships between Kate and her father and Tony and his mother; consider the powerlessness of women and their consequent need for men with money; and just why does Mrs Hardcastle feel the need to keep hold of the jewels? In Act II, Mrs Hardcastle fakes sophistication with Hastings but, through Goldsmith’s use of dramatic irony, we recognize her falseness.
Analysis of the Theme of Love has no regard for social In She Stoops to Conquer
Love has no regard for social boundaries Although prevailing attitudes among England’s elite classes frown on romance between one of their own and a person of humble origin, Marlow cannot help falling in love with acommon binmair (who is, of course, Kate in disguise).
Analysis of the Theme of Hope for flawed humanity In She Stoops to Conquer
Hope for flawed humanity
Although Marlow makes a fool of himself as a result of his upper class bias Kate has enough common sense to see through London arrogance encasing him and and to appreciate him for his genuinely good qualities which are considerable once He allow them to surface. Mrs Hardcastle, in spite of her misguided values, also enjoys the love if her practical, down to earth husband. He too, is willing to look beyond her foibles in favour of her good points.
Analysis of the Theme of Trickery and mockery In She Stoops to Conquer
Trickery and mockery
laugh Marlow being duped yet it is through this mocking that Goldsmith more easily drives home criticisms of society and its views on, for example, fathers and mothers, femininity, d marriage. In Act IV, Hastings’ letter to Tony acts as a metaphor for the play’s theme of deception and disguise; with the refined handwriting perhaps making it indecipherable, much as the surface
refinements of “genteel life” hide the “true” person underneath.
Analysis of the Theme of Deceit/Trickery In She Stoops to Conquer
Much of this play’s comedy comes from the trickery played by various characters. The inost important deceits come from Tony, including his lie about Hardcastle’s home and his scheme of driving his mother and Constance around in circles. However, deceit also reaches to the centre of the play’s more major themes. In a sense, the only reason anyone learns anything about their deep assumptions about class and behaviour is because they are duped into seeing characters in different ways, This truth is most clear with Marlow and his shifting perspective on Kate, but it is also true for the Hardcastles Charles, who are able to see the in others because of what trickery Apparently, appearance vs. reality: openness and truth vs deception: fine speech actions, become the tools for navigating this theme.
Analysis of the Theme of Appearance Vs. Reality In She Stoops to Conquer
Appearance Vs. Reality
much of the comedy and reality
play depends on between appearance and reality. After all Marlow’s misperception of Mr Hardcastle’s house as an inn drives the narrative action in the first place. Ironically, Goldsmith’s comedy allows appearance to lead to the discovery of Kate’s deception leads her to discover Marlow’s true nature. Falling in love when he thinks barmaid, he declares his decision to defy society and marry her her a class. Her falsehood in spite of the differences in their social allows him to relax with her and reveal his true self.
Analysis of the Theme of Behaviour/Appearance In She Stoops to Conquer
One of the elements Goldsmith most criticizes’ in his play’s satirical moments is the aristocratic emphasis on behaviour as a gauge of character. Even though we today believe that one’s behaviour in terms of “low” versus “high” class behaviour does not necessarily indicate who someone is. many characters in the play a often blinded to a character’s behaviour because of an assumption
For instance, Marlow and Hastings treat Hardcastle cruelly because they think him the landlord of and are confused by his behaviour, which seems ‘brazen’. The same behaviour would have seemed appropriately high-class if they had not been fooled by Tony. Throughout the play, characters (especially Marlow) assume they understand someone’s behaviour when what truly guides them is their
assumption of the other character’s class.
Analysis of the Theme of The love of appearance over substance In She Stoops to Conquer
The love of appearance over substance
This is very much ‘noticeable’ as a theme in this play. It is manifest in many small symbols, like the way Marlow and Hastings decide how to dress in order to best present themselves, or the way
Hardcastle seeks comfort over age, hoping it will not make her unfashionable. Yet the truth is that the “high” appearance of things is not the truth, but merely a guise behind which lies the baser
nature of humans. Much of this thematic content is apparent in the act’s signature scene, the meeting of Kate and Marlow. Many things are happening here. Firstly, it is a wonderful parody of sentimental dialogue. One would expect the two lovers in a sentimental comedy (a think of today’s romantic comedies) to express acceptable philosophies about life to one another, but here, Marlow is shy unable to say anything, and it is the woman who has to put those words in his mouth. It is as though that is leading him into the sentimental conversation expected of them, while all the while she enjoys of situation. However, the substance ofthe conversation does touch on the play’s theme: the importance of living, rather than observing life. Ironically, Marlow believes he has only engaged in the latter, because he lacks adeptness at speaking with modest women. Kate, on the other hand, believes that Marlow’s lively nature (which she has not seen yet) is the way to actually experience life. He has been blinded by aristocratic expectation to look down on his own pursuits, while right in front of his face is an aristocratic woman who would value such in him if he had the courage to reveal it.
Analysis of the Theme of Truth and falsehood In She Stoops to Conquer
Truth and falsehood
Thematically related to the theme of appearance and reality, Goldsmith uses falsehood to reveal the truth. Most obviously Tony’s lie about Mr Hardcastle’s mansion being an inn produces the truth of the lovers’ affections. Lying also leads to poetic justice. When Constance asks to wear her jewels, Mrs Hardcastle lies and tells her they have been lost. Tony takes the jewels to give to Hastings, and when Mrs Hardcastle goes to find them, they have been lost. Her lie has become true.
Analysis of the Theme of Sex roles In She Stoops to Conquer
In many ways, Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer satirizes the ways the eighteenth-century society believed that proper men and women ought to behave. While the play shows the traditional pattern of male-female relations in Hastings’s wooing of Constance, it also reverses the era’s sexual etiquette
Analysis of the Theme of Money In She Stoops to Conquer
One of the factors that keeps the play pragmatic even when it veers close to contrivance and sentiment is the unavoidable importance of money. While some of the characters, like Marlow and Hardcastle, are mostly unconcerned with questions of money, there are several characters whose lives are largely
defined by a lack of access to it. Constance cannot run away with Hastings because she worries about a life without her inheritance. When Marlow thinks Kate is a poor relation of the Hardcastles, he cannot get himself to propose because of her lack of dowry. In the case of Tony, he seems to live a life unconcerned with wealth, although the implicit truth is that his dalliances (flirtations) are facilitated by having access to wealth.
Analysis of the Theme of Money breeds indolence In She Stoops to Conquer
Money breeds indolence
Tony will get 1,500 pounds a year when he comes of age. Thus, without financial worries, he devotes himself to ale and a do-nothing life.
Analysis of the Theme of Culture: old vs. new; age vs. youth; In She Stoops to Conquer
Culture: old vs. new; age vs. youth; country vs. city Goldsmith creates a clash of cultures between country and city. We laugh at the reactionary nature of Hardcastle but also at the empty superficiality of Marlow: neither way of life is presented as ideal. Goldsmith undercuts the surface sophistication of city types by contrasting them with Tony Lumpkin a man often of blunt and unsophisticated common sense. This is evident from the very first scene where Hardcastle himself as old in age and manner in contrast to the youth of bis daughter and city ideals embraced by Hardcastle.
Analysis of the Theme of Moderation In She Stoops to Conquer
Throughout the play runs a conflict between the refined attitudes of town and the simple behaviours of
the country. The importance of this theme is underscored by the fact that it is the crux of the opening disagreement between Hardcastle and his wife. Where country characters like Hardcastle see town manners as pretentious, town characters like Marlow see country manners as ‘rustic’. The best course
of action is proposed through Kate, who is praised by Marlow as having a “refined simplicity.” Having lived in the city…. she is able to appreciate the values of both sides of life and can find happiness in
appreciating the contradictions that exist between them.
Analysis of the Theme of Contradiction In She Stoops to Conquer
Many of the characters in the play desire that the others are simple to understand. This in many ways mirrors the expectations ofan audience that Goldsmith wishes to mock. Where his characters are initially presented as comic types, he spends time throughout the play complicating them all by showing their contradictions. Most clear are the contradictions within Marlow, who is both refined and base. The final happy ending comes when the two oldest men-Hardcastle and Sir Charles decide to accept the contradictions in their children. In a sense, this theme helps to understand Goldsmith’s purpose in the play, reminding us that all people are worthy of being miocked because of their silly, base natures. and no one is above reproach.
Analysis of the Theme of Comedy In She Stoops to Conquer
Though it is only explicitly referred to in the prologue, an understanding of Goldsmith’s play in context shows his desire to reintroduce his audience to the “laughing comedy that deived from a
long history of comedy that mocks human vice. This type of comedy stands in contrast to the then-popular “sentimental comedy” that praised
virtues and reinforced bourgeois mentality. Understanding Goldsmith’s love of the former helps to clarify several elements of the play: the low scene in the Three Pigeons; the mockery of baseness in even the most high-bred characters; and the celebration of absurdity as a fact of human life.
Analysis of the Theme of Money Breeds Indolence In She Stoops to Conquer
Money Breeds Indolence
Tony Lumpkin will get 1,500 pounds a year when he comes of age. Thus, without financial worries, he devotes himself to ale and a do-nothing life.
Role and Character Analysis of all Character in She Stoops to Conquer
Role and Character Analysis of Sir Charles Marlow In She Stoops to Conquer
Sir Charles Marlow
A minor character and the father of Young Marlow; also a friend of Mr Hardcastle. Arespectable and aristocratic fellow from the town who believes his son is of very modest character. He follows his son, a few hours behind. Unlike his son, he does not meet Tony Lumpkin in the Three Pigeons, and thus is not confused. He is an old friend of Mr Hardcastle, both of them once having been in the British military.. Sir Marlow enjoys the follies of his son, but does not understand these initially. However, he is quite upset when his son treats Kate as a maid.
Every father is always proud of a son with good qualities. His coming to Mr Hardcastle’s home after his son is to ensure nothing goes wrong with the marriage proposal.
He is quite pleased with the union of his son and his friend’s daughter. Demonstrates 18th century practice of
parents’ involvement in the choice of marital partners
Role and Character Analysis of Young Charles Marlow In She Stoops to Conquer
Young Charles Marlow
Marlow is a scholar with many good qualities who “is designed for employment in the service Every father is always proud of a son with good qualities.
Promising young man who comes to the country to woo the Hardcastles’ pretty daughter, Kate. His coming to Mr Hardcastle’s home after his son is to ensure nothing goes wrong with the marriage proposal. He is quite pleased with the union of his son and his friend’s daughter. Demonstrates 18th century practice of parents’ involvement in the choice of marital part need.
His only drawback is that he is extremely shy around refined young ladies, although he is completely at ease and even forward with women of humble birth and working-class status. The central and pivotal male character in the play, used by playwright Goldsmith to satirize England’s preoccupation with, and overemphasis on, class distinctions. Marlow is sophisticated and has travelled round the world Around lower-class women Marlow is a lecherous rogue, but around those of an upper-class card he is a nervous, bumbling fool. Marlow is brash and rude to Mr castle, owner of “Liberty Hall” (a reference to another site in London), whom Marlow believes to be an innkeeper. Possessed of a strange contradictory character, wherein he is mortified to speak to any “modest” woman, but is lively and excitable in conversation with barmaids or other low-class women. However, Marlow’s redeeming qualities make him a likeable character, and the audience tends to root for him when he becomes the victim of a practical joke resulting in mix-ups and mistaken identities
Because Marlows rudeness is comic, the audience is likely not to dislike Thus, interview with Kate exploits the man’s fears, and convinces Miss she will have to alter her persona drastically to make a relationship with the man possible. The character of Charles Marlow is very similar to the description of Goldsmith himself as he too acted “sheepishly” around women of a higher class
than himself, and amongst “creatures of another stamp” acted with the most confidence.
Role and Character Analysis of Mr Hardcastle In She Stoops to Conquer
The patriarch of the Hardcastle family, and owner of the estate where the play is set. He is a middle-aged gentleman who lives in an old mansion in the countryside about sixty miles from London.
He despises the ways of the town, and is dedicated to the simplicity of country life and old fashioned traditions.
The father of Kate Hardcastle, who is mistaken by Marlow and Hastings as an innkeeper Hardcastle is a realist and a level-headed countryman who loves old” and hates the town and the “follies” that come with it. He is very much occupied with.the old times’ and likes nothing better than to tell his war stories and to drop names, such as the Duke of Marlborough. into conversations, Hardcastle cares for his daughter Kate, but insists that she dresses plainly in his presence. It is he who arranges for Marlow to come to the country to marry his daughter.
Mr Hardcastle’s love for the rustic life away from fashionable London, which he believes breeds “vanity and affectation” is portrayed. He may be stuffy, long
ded, and old-fashioned, but he affectionately humours his wifo, and oves his daughter, Kate. He wants the best for her, and in selecting a good husband for ber, his objective is not money or status, but her bappiness.
Hardcastle is a man of manners and, despite being highly insulted by Marlow s treatment ofhim. manages to keep his temper with his guest until near the end of the play,
To demonstrate Hardcastle’s wealth of forgiveness as he not only forgives Marlow once be his realized Mariow’s mistake, but also gives him consent to marry his daughter Portrays the 18th century marital practice. During this period, entirely arranged marriages were rare, but a young woman rarely had the right to select a husband entirely on her own. More customary was for the father to select the prospective husband, while the daughter had the right to accept or refuse him, In She Stoops to Conquer, Mr Hardcastle has selected Marlow, the son of an old friend, but he assures Kate he would never control her choice.
Role and Character Analysis of George Hasting In She Stoops to Conquer
A close friend of Charles Marlow and an admirer of Miss Constance Neville. while Marlow is busy with Kate, Hastings is busy with constance. A decent fellow who is willing to marry Constance even without her money. Hastings is also an educated man who cares deeply about Constance, with the intention of fleeing to France with her. However, the young woman makes it clear that she cannot leave without her jewels, which are guarded by Mrs Hardcastle, thus the pair and Tony collaborate to get hold ofthe jewels. When Hastings realizes the Hardcastle house is not an inn, he decides not to tell Marlow who would thus leave the premises immediately. True love does not thrive on material heritage. His companionship to Charles Marlow boosts Marlow’s confidence in dealing with
Kate Tony accepts to help Hastings elope with Constance to erase Constance from his life and his mother’s constant efforts to match him with Constance.
Role and Character Analysis of Tony Lumpkin In She Stoops to Conquer
son of Mrs Hardcastle by her first husband (Mr Lumpkin) and stepson to Mr Hardcastle. He is a mischievous, uneducated playboy and a very consumptive figure; a fat, ale-drinking young man who has little ambition except to play practical jokes and to visit the local tavern whenever be has a mind; frightens the maids and worries the kittens. Proves to be good-natured and kind despite his superficial disdain for everyone. do Mrs Hardcastle has no authority over Tony, and their relationship contrasts with that between Hardcastle and Kate.
Tony takes an interest in horses, “Bet Bouncer and especially the alehouse, where he joyfully sings with members of the lower-classes. When Tony comes of age, he will receive 1,500 pounds a year. His mother hopes to marry him to her niece, constance Neville, who is in line to inherit a casket of jewels from her uncle. Tony and Miss Neville despise each other It is Tony’s initial ception of Marlow, for a joke, which sets up the plot Tony goes to great effort to help Neville and Hastings in their plans to leave the country because he despises her.
Tony’s free-wheeling ways ofdrinking and tomfoolery is probably because of the huge inheritance that awaits him when he comes of age.
Role and Character Analysis of Mrs Dorothy Hardcastle
In She Stoops to Conquer
Mrs Dorothy Hardcastle
The matriarch of the Hardcastle family; wife to Mr Hardcastle and mother to Tony from an earlier marriage.
She coddles her son Tony, overprotects and loves him, but fails to tell him he is of age so that he is eligible to receive £1,500 a year, Unlike her husband, she yearns to sample life in high society. She also values material possessions and hopes to match her son (by her first husband) with her niece, Constance Neville, in order to keep her niece’s inheritance in the family Mrs Hardcastle is a corrupt and eccentric character Her behaviour is.either over-the-top or far fetched, providing some of the play’s comedy She is also partly selfish, wanting Neville to marry her son to keep the and that Constance is in Mobildespise each other, fact planning to flee to France with Hastings The vanity of Mrs Hardcastle is pronounced. Mrs Hardcastle is a contrast to her husband, which provides the bumourin the play’s opening, loves the town, and is the only character that is not happy at the end of the play, Desperate material quest is likely to end up disastrously.
Role and Character Analysis of Miss Kate Hardcastle In She Stoops to Conquer
Miss Kate Hardcastle
Pretty daughter of the Hardcastles who is wooed by young Chates Marlow, she is called Miss Hardcastle” in the play. Kate respects her father, dressing plainly in his presence to please him Kale seeks in marriage a compatible and companionable husband, not money or status. in an effort to ascertain Marlow’s true feelings, she pretends to be a barmaid to get him to announce that he loves her despite her low social position. intelligence and versatility she resembles such Shakespearean heroines as Viola in Twelfth Night and Roselaid in as you like it, Kate enjoys “French frippery” and the attributes ofthe town, much as her mother does.
When Charles Marlow mistakes woman her for the woman of the lowest class she allow him to continue to discover what he really thinks to mistake her identity, thus freeing his captive tongue so she discover what she really feels about her. She is Calculating and scheming, posing as a maid and deceiving Marlow, causing him to love with up her, Even though her father recommended Marlow to her, she investigates him herself to make mind and not because of the attractive wealthy background of Marlow. She is able to balance the “refined simplicity” of country life with the love of life associated with the town. The formal and respectful relationship that she shares with her father, contrasts with that between Tony and Mrs Hardcastle. Her conduct projects her as the quer heroine of the play.
In truth, Kate stands as the exemplary illustration of moderation, which the play seems to preach, Her foremost virtue in the world is liveliness, She wants to live and enjoy her life, a desire strict formality seems to exclude and so seeks to find in She worries that custom will force her into a and loveless marriage, this overly respectable gentleman, a man she might enjoy.
Role and Character Analysis of Miss Constance Neville In She Stoops to Conquer
Miss Constance Neville
Constance Neville, an orphan, is the niece and ward of Mrs Hardcastle (who holds Miss Neville’s inheritance of jewels in her possession until she becomes
legally qualified to take possession of it)
and the cousin of Kate. Comely young lady who loves Hastings but is bedevilled by Mrs Hardcastle’s schemes to match her with Tony. Her aunt, Mrs Hardcastle, wishes her to marry Tony Lumpkin, but Constance wants to marry Hastings.
Neville schemes with Hastings and Tony to get the jewels so she can then flee to France with her admirer, Miss Neville is projected as a focused and determined lady; she follows her heart and also insists on her legal inheritance without bowing to her aunt’s wish to marry her cousin, Tony. Through Miss Neville, we are taught the value of liberty and compromises. Sometimes we may mean well for our wards in our intentions, when they come in conflict with their own desire we must not insist. Material greed in Mrs Hardcastle is signposted for scheming to match-make Tony and Neville because she is heir to a large fortune of jewels.
Role and Character Analysis of Diggory In She Stoops to Conquer
Hardcastle’s head servant. Atalkative, likeable servant with poor table manners and a broad sense of humour. Mr Hardcastle attempts to teach Diggory and other field servants to serve at a formal table, with.comic results. Diggory also delivers the letter which tells Tony that Hastings needs fresh horses in order to el with Constance. Diggory serves as a useful ingredient in the comic menu Goldsmith presents in She stoops to conquer. The letter he delivers brings complications to the plot of the play. Constance must read the letter aloud in front of her aunt. Realizing its contents, Constance pretends to read, instead fabricating a story about gambling Tony’s interest in gaming causes him to hand the letter to his mother, which spoils the secret elopement. The letter he delivers brings complications to the plot of the play. must read the aloud in front of her aunt. Realizing its contents, Constance pretends to read, instead fabricating a story about gambling. Tony’s interest in gaming causes him to hand the letter to his mother, which ils the secret elopement.
Role and Character Analysis of Maid
In She Stoops to Conquer
Maid: Kate’s servant. The woman who tells her that Marlow believed Kate to be a barmaid, which leads Kate towards her plan to stoop and conquer.
Role and Character Analysis of Landlord In She Stoops to Conquer
Landlord of the Three Pigeons Alehouse who welcomes Marlow and Hastings, and helps Tony to play his trick on them.
Role and Character Analysis of sir
In She Stoops to Conquer
Jeremy: Marlow’s drunken servant. His drunken impertinence offends Hardcastle, which leads Hardcastle to order Marlow to leave.
Servants in the Hardcastle Household
Maid in the Hardcastle Household
First Fellow, Second Fellow, Third Fellow, Fourth Fellow: Drinking companions of Tony Lumpkin
Language and style of She Stoops to Conquer
Style is a distinctive form: a distinctive and identifiable form in an artistic medium such as literature. In She Stoops to Conquer Goldsmith employs wry, witty, and simple but graceful style. From beginning to end, the play is both entertaining and easy to understand, presenting few words and idioms that modern audiences would not understand. It is also well constructed and moves along rapidly, the events of the first act in particular, references to Tony Lumpkin’s childhood propensity for working mischief and playing practical jokes-foreshadowing the events of the following acts. There are frequent scene changes, punctuated by an occasional appearance of a character alone on the stage (solus in the stage directions) reciting a briefaccount of his feelings. In modern terms, the play is a page-turner for readers.
Goldsmith observes the classical unities of time and place, for the action of the play takes place in a single locale (the English countryside) on a single day. Some of the forms used by the playwright to achieve his style are examined below.
Type of Comedy in She Stoops to Conquer
There have been different opinions on what type of comedy She Stoops to Conquer represents. However, there is a consensus amongst audiences and critics that the play is a comedy of manners.
It can also be seen as one of the following comedy types:
Laughing comedy or sentimental comedy When the play was first produced, it was discussed as an example of the revival of laughing comedy over the sentimental comedy seen as dominant on the English stage since the success of The Conscious Lovers, written by Sir Richard Steele in 1722. In the same year, an essay in a London magazine, entitled “An Essay on the Theatre; or, a Comparison between Laughing and Sentimental Comedy”, suggested that sentimental comedy, a false form of comedy, had taken over the boards from the older and more truly comic laughing comedy. Some theatre historians believe that the essay was written by Goldsmith as a puff piece for She Stoops to Conquer, as an exemplar of the laughing comedy which Goldsmith (perhaps) had touted. Goldsmith’s name was linked with that of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, author of The Rivals and The School for Scandal, as standard-bearers for the resurgent laughing comedy.
Comedy of manners in She Stoops to Conquer
The play can also be seen as a comedy of manners, where, set in a polite society, the comedy arises from the gap between the characters’ attempts to preserve standards of polite behaviour that contrasts to their true behaviour. While She Stoops to Conquer contains elements of farce, its comedy also stems from poking fun at the manners and conventions of aristocratic, sophisticated society.
Romantic comedy in She Stoops to Conquer
IIt is also seen by some critics as a romantic comedy, which depicts how seriously young people take love, and how foolishly it makes them behave (similar to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) in She Stoops to Conquer, Kate’s stooping and Marlow’s nervousness are good examples of romantic comedy.
Alternatively, it can be seen as a satire, where characters are presented as either ludicrous or eccentric Such a comedy might leave the impression that the characters are either too foolish or corrupt to ever reform, hence Mrs Hardcastle.
comedy of errors in She Stoops to Conquer
The lay is sometimes described as a farce and a comedy of errors, because it is based on multiple misunderstandings, hence Marlow and Hastings believing the Hardcastles’ house is an inn.
The Three Unities in She Stoops to Conquer
the dramatic technique of the three unities is employed by Goldsmith to some extent in She stoops to Conquer.
The Unity of Action in She Stoops to Conquer
Unity of action is not strictly followed here, because of the inclusion of the Constance-Hastings eloping subplot that distracts from the main narrative of the play. However, it shares similar themes of relationships and what makes the best one’s choice mutual attraction or the arrangement of a parent or guardian. Furthermore, the subplot is interwoven with the main plot,vespecially when Hastings and Marlow confront Tony regarding his mischief plotting.
The Unity of Time in She Stoops to Conquer
The alternative title of Mistakes of a Night illustrates that the Unity of Time is carefully observed. With all of the events occurring in a single night, the plot becomes more stimulatingvas well as lending more plausibility to the series of unlucky coincidences that conspire against the Visitors.
The Unity of Place in She Stoops to Conquer
Whilst some may question whether She stoops to Conquer contains the unity of place after all, the scene at the “The Three Pigeons” is set apart from the house but the similarity between the alehouse and the “old rumbling mansion, that looks all the world like an inn” is one of close resemblance; enough that in past performances, the scenes have often doubled up the use of the anne set backdrop. Also, there is some debate as to whether the excursion to “Crackskull common” counts as a separate setting, but since the truth is that the travellers do not leave the mansion gardens. the unity of place is not violated.
Age of Sensibility in She StooptruthConquer
Many works written between 1750 and 1798 emphasized emotion and pathos, instead of drama and humour The sentimental comedy, called a comedy not because of its humour but because it had a happy ending, ruled the stage. She Stoops to Conquer reacts against this tradition, for Goldsmith’s comedy actually evokes laughter. The prologue by Garrick and the epilogue by Goldsmith clearly situate the play as a challenge to sensibility, and positive audience response initiated a new age in stage comedy,
Prologue and Epilogue
Prologue in the play, though not written by Goldsmith, is used to pass a direct message to the audience on why the play was written; a rare example where a playwright justifies his/her creative effort. It is a wish for the revival of classical low comedy over sentimental comedy. In the concluding statement of ItShe stoops to Conquer, Goldsmith summarizes the plot and hopes that the comedy has conquered his audience as Kate has conquered Marlow’s heart.
Foreshadowing in She Stoops to Conquer
Goldsmith uses foreshadowing to create expectations and explain subsequent developments. For example, Mrs Hardcastle in act one describes their house as “an rumbling mansion, that looks for.all the world like an inn”(p. 1). This helps the audience to understand what gave Tony the idea for his practical joke and generally Act I is full of set-up for the rest of the play.
Dramatic Irony in She Stoops to Conquer
Being a device of giving the spectator an item of information that at least one of the characters in Ntthe drama is unaware of (at least consciously), thus placing the spectator a step ahead of at least one
the characters, Goldsmith uses it for dramatic effectiveness. Through dramatic irony, the plot and characterization are strengthened to of mistaken identities in the play The main plot in She stoops to conquer is designed to match-make Mariow and Kate for marriage is clearly to determine whether Kate will marry Marlow while the primary is whether Constance will marry Hastings. In unveiling the main plot, a lot of mix-ups set in necessitating a number of subplots. One of the subplots i
a comic misunderstanding among Hastings, Marlow and Mr Hardcastle. Before his acquaintance with Kate, Marlow sets out for the Hardcastles his Hastings, himself an admirer
Miss Constance Neville, another young l lady who with the Hardcastles.
Tony Lumpkin (the son of Mrs Hardcastle and who will acquire a fortune
n becoming of “age”), encounters the two strangers at the alehouse, and realizing their identities, practical joke by telling them that they are a long way from their destination and will have to stay overnight at an inn. He furthers the joke by telling the twosome the Hardcastles’ old house is the inn, thus the pair arrive and treat it as such, and also treat Hardcastle as a mere innkeeper. This leads to Hardcastle becoming both enraged and convinced that Marlow is inappropriate for his beloved he changes behind Marlow’s This subplot sets motion the agenda for mistaken identities. Another subplot is that of the secret affair between Miss Neville and Hastings. Neville desperately wants her jewels that were left for her, and that are guarded by ber aunt
and Tony’s mother, Mrs Hardcastle, the latter wants Neville to marry son to keep the jewels in the family. Tony Constance (Miss and thus to bis jewe The main
Neville, so he will then flee to France with Hastings. This sub-plot is later inter-woven with plot. Further, there is an additional subplot of whether the Hardcastles will their dif play, it
over whether old or new is superior. While this subplot never directly affects the action of the thematically important, and is worth giving attention, The beauty of this style is that all the way or the other help to advance the main plot either way of thematic exploration
effectiveness. Through all these plots, Goldsmith plays the groundwork for his
Setting of She stoops to Conquer by oliver Goldsmith
Most of the action takes place in the Hardcastle mansion in the English countryside, about sixty miles from London. The mansion is an old but comfortable dwelling that resembles an inn. A brief episode takes place at a nearby tavern. The Three Pigeons Alehouse. The time is the eighteenth century.