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