She Stoops to Conquer
————————————————- She stoops to conquer ————————————————- ————————————————- Characters * Charles Marlow – The central male character, who has set out to court the young attractive Kate Hardcastle. A well-educated man, “bred a scholar”, Marlow is brash and rude to Mr. Hardcastle, owner of “Liberty Hall” (a reference to another site in London), whom Marlow believes to be an innkeeper.
Because Marlow’s rudeness is comic, the audience is likely not to dislike him for it.
Marlow is sophisticated and has travelled 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. Thus, his interview with Kate exploits the man’s fears, and convinces Miss Hardcastle she’ll 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. George Hastings – A close friend of Charles Marlow and the admirer of Miss Constance Neville. 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 can’t leave without her jewels, which are guarded by Mrs. Hardcastle, thus the pair and Tony collaborate to get hold of the jewels. When Hastings realises the Hardcastle house isn’t an inn, he decides not to tell Marlow who would thus leave the premises immediately. * Tony Lumpkin – Son of Mrs.
Hardcastle and stepson to Mr. Hardcastle, Tony is a mischievous, uneducated playboy. Mrs. Hardcastle has no authority over Tony, and their relationship contrasts with that between Hardcastle and Kate. He is promised in marriage to his cousin, Constance Neville, yet he despises her and thus goes to great effort to help her and Hastings in their plans to leave the country. He cannot reject the impending marriage with Neville, because he believes he’s not of age. Tony takes an interest in horses, “Bet Bouncer” and especially the lehouse, where he joyfully sings with members of the lower-classes. It is Tony’s initial deception of Marlow, for a joke, which sets up the plot. * Mr. Hardcastle – The father of Kate Hardcastle, who is mistaken by Marlow and Hastings as an innkeeper. Hardcastle is a level-headed countryman who loves “everything 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 dress plainly in his presence. It is he who arranges for Marlow to come to the country to marry his daughter. Hardcastle is a man of manners and, despite being highly insulted by Marlow’s treatment of him, manages to keep his temper with his guest until near the end of the play. Hardcastle also demonstrates a wealth of forgiveness as he not only forgives Marlow once he has realised Marlow’s mistake, but also gives him consent to marry his daughter. * Mrs. Hardcastle – Wife to Mr.
Hardcastle and mother to Tony, Mrs. Hardcastle is a corrupt and eccentric character. She is an over-protective mother to Tony, whom she loves, but fails to tell him he’s of age so that he is eligible to receive ? 1,500 a year. 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 jewels in the family; she’s blissfully unaware however, that Tony and Neville despise each other, and that Constance is in fact planning to flee to France with Hastings. Mrs.
Hardcastle is a contrast to her husband, which provides the humour in the play’s opening. She loves the town, and is the only character who’s not happy at the end of the play. * Miss Kate Hardcastle – Daughter to Mr. Hardcastle, and the play’s stooping-to-conquer heroine. Kate respects her father, dressing plainly in his presence to please him. The formal and respectful relationship that she shares with her father, contrasts with that between Tony and Mrs. Hardcastle. Kate enjoys “French frippery” and the attributes of the town, much as her mother does.
She is both calculating and scheming, posing as a maid and deceiving Marlow, causing him to fall in love with her. * Miss Constance Neville – Niece of Mrs. Hardcastle, she is the woman whom Hastings intends to court. Constance despises her cousin Tony, she is heir to a large fortune of jewels, hence her aunt wants her to remain in the family and marry Tony; she is secretly an admirer of George Hastings however. Neville schemes with Hastings and Tony to get the jewels so she can then flee to France with her admirer; this is essentially one of the sub-plots of She Stoops to Conquer. Sir Charles Marlow – A minor character and father to Charles Marlow; 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, and is quite pleased with the union of his son and his friend’s daughter. Sir Charles 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.  ————————————————-
Short summary of she stoops to conquer? Answer: She stoops to Conquer is a comedy by the Irish author Oliver Goldsmith. The play was initially titled as Mistakes of a Night and the events in the play, indeed, happen during the time frame of one night. Mr. Hardcastle, a rich countryman plans to marry his daughter Kate to the son of his old friend, Sir Charles Marlow. Hardcastle’s second wife is determined in marrying her spoiled son, Tony Lumpkin to her niece, Constance Neville in order to keep her fortune, a casket of jewels within the family.
But Miss Neville has plans to marry Hastings, a friend of young Marlow. While Hardcastle’s family is eagerly awaiting the arrival of Marlow and his friend, Hastings, the friends stop at the village Inn to inquire their way. Tony Lumpkin, who is present there, realizes their identity and plays a joke by telling them that they are far away from their destination and asks them to stay at an inn, recommending Hardcastle house as the best Inn around there. Thus the friends arrive there and treat Mr. Hardcastle as mere Inn keeper.
This enrages Mr. Hardcastle and is convinced that Marlow is not suitable for his daughter. On the other hand, Young Marlow who is nervous in the presence of ladies of his own social status, yet quite the quite opposite with lower-class women doesn’t look properly at Kate on their first meeting. Kate realizes this and stoops to conquer him, by posing as bar maid and putting Marlow at his ease so that he falls for her in the process. However, he changes his mind when he realizes the truth behind Marlow’s behaviour. The play concludes with Mr.
Hardcastle realizing the truth behind Marlow’s behaviour and changing his mind; Kate succeeding in her plan and getting engaged to Marlow; Tony Lumpkin discovering he is of age and receives his entitled money, which his mother hides from him. He refuses to marry Ms. Neville, who then gets her entitled jewels and gets engaged to Mr. Hastings. So all is well that ends well. Summary She Stoops to Conquer opens 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. Act I is full of set-up for the rest of the play. Mr. and Mrs. Hardcastle live in an old house that resembles an inn, and they are waiting for the arrival of Marlow, son of Mr. Hardcastle’s old friend and a possible suitor to his daughter Kate. Kate is very close to her father, so much so that she dresses plainly in the evenings (to suit his conservative tastes) and fancifully in the mornings for her friends. Meanwhile, Mrs.
Hardcastle’s niece Constance is in the old woman’s care, and has her small inheritance (consisting of some valuable jewels) held until she is married, hopefully to Mrs. Hardcastle’s spoiled son from an earlier marriage, Tony Lumpkin. The problem is that neither Tony nor Constance loves the other, and in fact Constance has a beloved, who will be traveling to the house that night with Marlow. Tony’s problem is also that he is a drunk and a lover of low living, which he shows when the play shifts to a pub nearby.
When Marlow and Hastings (Constance’s beloved) arrive at the pub, lost on the way to Hardcastle’s, Tony plays a practical joke by telling the two men that there is no room at the pub and that they can find lodging at the old inn down the road (which is of course Hardcastle’s home). Act II sees the plot get complicated. When Marlow and Hastings arrive, they are impertinent and rude with Hardcastle, whom they think is a landlord and not a host (because of Tony’s trick). Hardcastle expects Marlow to be a polite young man, and is shocked at the behavior. Constance finds Hastings, and reveals to him that Tony must have played a trick.
However, they decide to keep the truth from Marlow, because they think revealing it will upset him and ruin the trip. They decide they will try to get her jewels and elope together. Marlow has a bizarre tendency to speak with exaggerated timidity to “modest” women, while speaking in lively and hearty tones to women of low-class. When he has his first meeting with Kate, she is dressed well, and hence drives him into a debilitating stupor because of his inability to speak to modest women. She is nevertheless attracted to him, and decides to try and draw out his true character.
Tony and Hastings decide together that Tony will steal the jewels for Hastings and Constance, so that he can be rid of his mother’s pressure to marry Constance, whom he doesn’t love. Act III opens with Hardcastle and Kate each confused with the side of Marlow they saw. Where Hardcastle is shocked at his impertinence, Kate is disappointed to have seen only modesty. Kate asks her father for the chance to show him that Marlow is more than both believe. Tony has stolen the jewels, but Constance doesn’t know and continues to beg her aunt for them. Tony convinces Mrs.
Hardcastle to pretend they were stolen to dissuade Constance, a plea she willingly accepts until she realizes they have actually been stolen. Meanwhile, Kate is now dressed in her plain dress and is mistaken by Marlow (who never looked her in the face in their earlier meeting) as a barmaid to whom he is attracted. She decides to play the part, and they have a lively, fun conversation that ends with him trying to embrace her, a move Mr. Hardcastle observes. Kate asks for the night to prove that he can be both respectful and lively. Act IV finds the plots almost falling apart.
News has spread that Sir Charles Marlow(Hardcastle’s friend, and father to young Marlow) is on his way, which will reveal Hastings’s identity as beloved of Constance and also force the question of whether Kate and Marlow are to marry. Hastings has sent the jewels in a casket to Marlow for safekeeping but Marlow, confused, has given them to Mrs. Hardcastle (whom he still believes is the landlady of the inn). When Hastings learns this, he realizes his plan to elope with wealth is over, and decides he must convince Constance to elope immediately.
Meanwhile, Marlow’s impertinence towards Hardcastle (whom he believes is the landlord) reaches its apex, and Hardcastle kicks him out of the house, during which altercation Marlow begins to realize what is actually happening. He finds Kate, who now pretends to be a poor relation to the Hardcastles, which would make her a proper match as far as class but not a good marriage as far as wealth. Marlow is starting to love her, but cannot pursue it because it would be unacceptable to his father because of her lack of weatlh, so he leaves her. Meanwhile, a letter from Hastings arrives that Mrs.
Hardcastle intercepts, and she reads that he waits for Constance in the garden, ready to elope. Angry, she insists that she will bring Constance far away, and makes plans for that. Marlow, Hastings and Tony confront one another, and the anger over all the deceit leads to a severe argument, resolved temporarily when Tony promises to solve the problem for Hastings. Act V finds the truth coming to light, and everyone happy. Sir Charles has arrived, and he and Hastings laugh together over the confusion young Marlow was in. Marlow arrives to apologize, and in the discussion over Kate, claims he barely talked to Kate.
Hardcastle accuses him of lying, since Hardcastle saw him embrace Kate (but Marlow does not know that was indeed Kate). Kate arrives after Marlow leaves the room and convinces the older men she will reveal the full truth if they watch an interview between the two from a hidden vantage behind a screen. Meanwhile, Hastings waits in the garden, per Tony’s instruction, and Tony arrives to tell him that he drove his mother and Constance all over in circles, so that they think they are lost far from home when in fact they have been left nearby.
Mrs. Hardcastle, distraught, arrives and is convinced she must hide from a highwayman who is approaching. The “highwayman” proves to be Mr. Hardcastle, who scares her in her confusion for a while but ultimately discovers what is happening. Hastings and Constance, nearby, decide they will not elope but rather appeal to Mr. Hardcastle for mercy. Back at the house, the interview between Kate (playing the poor relation) and Marlow reveals his truly good character, and after some discussion, everyone agrees to the match.
Hastings and Constance ask permission to marry and, since Tony is actually of age and therefore can of his own volition decide not to marry Constance, the permission is granted. All are happy (except for miserly Mrs. Hardcastle), and the “mistakes of a night” have been corrected. There are two epilogues generally printed to the play, one of which 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. Suggested Essay Questions 1.
Explain the meaning and significance of the title She Stoops to Conquer. Even without reading the play, the irony of the title is obvious, since the “she” in question is lowering herself in order to prove herself superior. In context of the play, the title could be argued to refer both to Kate’s plan to trap Marlow and to Goldsmith’s purpose of using “low comedy” to convince his audience to embrace it. The former is a good description of the irony of Kate’s plan: in order to convince herself she is a worthy match for Marlow, she has to first convince him she is of a low class.
However, the title also describes Goldsmith’s purpose: he wishes to convince an audience to embrace this “low” or “laughing” comedy, and by indulging in it, he might convince them that it is superior to “sentimental” comedy. Regardless of which description one uses, the irony of the title expresses Goldsmith’s view of humanity: while we pretend to be of impeachable high class, we all have a “low,” base side that we should celebrate rather than try to ignore. 2. How is Kate an example of moderation?
Explain how her personality stands as the way of life Goldsmith most recommends. The play is organized into a series of conflicting philosophies: high-bred aristocrats vs. low-bred common folk; city life vs. country life; wealth vs. poverty, etc. Much of the absurdity that fuels Goldsmith’s comedy comes from exploiting the way most people engage in contradictions even when they pretend to be examples of virtue. The best example is Marlow, and his bizarre contradictory attitudes towards women depending on their class.
Kate stands at the center of most of these, and as such is the best depiction of Goldsmith’s message. As a country girl who has spent time in town, she is an example of what Marlow calls “refined simplicity,” and knowing as much as she does about humanity, is able to also enjoy and be amused by the contradictions rather than disgusted by them (as most of the elder characters are). 3. In what ways is Tony Lumpkin a hero in the play? Use historical/social detail to explain why this heroism is unconventional. Tony Lumpkin would traditionally have been considered nothing but comic relief.
Consider most Shakespeare plays, where the poor, common characters might have wisdom, but are primarily used to comedic effect, and are rarely engaged in the main plots. Tony is presented this way initially in She Stoops to Conquer, but we quickly see that there is a great wisdom to his lifestyle, which prizes enjoyment of life over heavy considerations of it. When his parents discuss the way to live in Act I, Tony takes off quickly for the Three Pigeons, where he sings a song that expresses a desire for true life rather than the hypocrisy of overly-educated or overly-religious lifestyles.
Tony perhaps has more agency than any other character in the play, setting in motion the confusions that ultimately allow everyone to be happy. The message, of which Tony is the best representative, is that by engaging in the confusions and contradictions of human nature, we can find our best happiness. 4. For a comedy, She Stoops to Conquer has a serious vein of commentary of class. Explain. In a traditional sentimental comedy, money would ultimately be shown to be irrelevant in the face of true love, so as to stress the characters’ virtue.
Of course, the characters would have almost all been high-bred and money not a serious issue in their lives. In this play, there are characters, like Tony or Constance, who really do need money if they want a strong future. Even in what is perhaps the most cliche romantic subplot – that between Constance and Hastings – money becomes an inescapable force, and in the end they turn to the virtue of asking Hardcastle’s permission not because of some innate virtue, but because they acknowledge that they will need money.
In another way, Marlow’s class contradictions are certainly meant to be amusing, but there is a serious criticism in the way that a class system has led him to despise what he enjoys. He considers himself inferior for his love of unpretentious women, and assumes that he ought to love a “modest” woman. Part of the lesson Kate teaches him is that the substance of a person is what matters, and not the way one gauges her behavior as high or low class. 5. How does the device of dramatic irony facilitate the play’s major themes and comedy?
The play is a masterpiece of dramatic irony, which is a device where the audience has information and knowledge that the characters do not. From the moment Tony plays the practical joke on Marlow and Hastings, the audience learns secrets that will grow more complicated and hence create confusion that leads to hilarious situations. The best example is perhaps the way Marlow and Hastings treat Hardcastle, because they think him a landlord. Because we understand the details of the confusions, we understand the jokes whereas the characters only grow more offended.
However, the behavior wrought by the dramatic irony reveals much of Goldsmith’s view on humanity and class. The same example listed above is funny, but also shows the cruelty that comes from a rich man’s entitlement. Throughout the play, much of the class commentary derives from the behaviors people show when they don’t’ realize they are being judged. Kate exploits this to try and find out what kind of person Marlow actually is. 6. In what ways are the characters of the play comic archetypes? How does Goldsmith deepen these stock characters?
At the beginning of the play, it seems as though all the characters fall into traditional comic patterns. Hardcastle is the old curmudgeon who hates modern life, Mrs. Hardcastle a vain old lady, the young men are handsome heroes, Kate is the pretty young heroine, and Tony is the comic drunkard. Very quickly, Goldsmith explores the depth of class, money and human contradictions by putting those qualities in broader contexts. Hardcastle turns out to be not entirely incorrect about the impertinence of the young (which he discovers because of Tony’s trick), but turns out to be forgiving.
Mrs. Hardcastle is frankly never deepened, and stays who she is throughout. Hastings remains a valiant young man, but Marlow is obviously full of absurd contradictions very much connected to the very aristocratic virtue that seems to define him in the beginning. And Kate, of course, is perhaps the deepest and fullest character of all, not a simple heroine to be won by the young man. 7. Does the play’s ending undercut Goldsmith’s attempt to write a “low” and not “sentimental” comedy? Explain. Mrs.
Hardcastle perhaps speaks to Goldsmith’s own concern over the ending when she remarks that “this is all but the whining end of a modern novel. ” It is clear from both the prologue and his “Essay on the Theatre” that he wishes to write a play that mocks vice rather than praises virtue. And yet the ending of the play finds not only all the characters ending up happy, but happy because of very clear-cut lessons. In a way, even the most grievous characters (like Marlow, whose contradictions lead him to some rather unsavory behavior) are forgiven for their vices.
However, one can argue that Goldsmith provides an entertaining end for his audience while not diving fully into the conventions. For one, Constance and Hastings’s realization about the necessity of money adds a pragmatic reality to the otherwise sentimental end. Further, the play’s end does not suggest that the absurd contradictions of humanity will go away, which could lead to the belief that such problems will never go away, even if the play wraps up nicely within its five acts. 8. Define what “town” and “country” mean in the context of this play, using characters as examples.
There is a strong conflict between town and country set up from the very opening of the play, when Mr. and Mrs. Hardcastle argue about the virtues and vices of town and country. The town is associated with several elements: wealth and pretension, education, style, and in the broadest sense, living life for itself. The country is associated with simplicity and a slower, more considered way of life. The characters who come from town are certainly to be admired, and would be by Goldsmith’s audience.
And yet they are shown to have serious faults, particularly in terms of their pretensions and cruelty towards Hardcastle when they think he is a landlord and not their host. Likewise, while the theatre audience at the time would probably consider the country characters to be overly simple, there is a great kindness revealed in the way Hardcastle is willing to forgive everyone despite how he is treated. The best character overall is Kate, who shows a moderation in her way to find “refined simplicity” by embracing the best of both worlds. . Explain how much of Goldsmith’s comedy relies on his ability to set-up a joke. Most of the comedy in She Stoops to Conquer comes from the deep dramatic irony wherein characters do not realize quite who one another are. However, for the audience to clearly understand all the complications, Goldsmith has to set up the details of the jokes to come. He does this masterfully in Act I. For instance, it is set up that the old Hardcastle home resembles an inn, important so that we believe Marlow and Hastings could believe as much.
Further, the strange behavior whereby Kate dresses plainly in the evenings is important so as to understand Marlow’s confusion over her class standing. Throughout the play, elements are introduced, or “set-up,” so that our expectations can be manipulated later. The use of the jewels, of Tony and his mother’s relationship, and of who is lying to whom are all examples of set-ups that produce great comic dividends. 10. How can one make a Freudian analysis of this play?
Though it is folly to suggest an explicitly Freudian intent in this play (since it was written so much earlier than Freud’s day), the same could be said about Oedipus Rex or Hamlet, both of which stand as seminal texts in Freud’s theories. There are definitely Freudian undercurrents in the Oedipal complex suggested as existing between Tony and Mrs. Hardcastle, and more implicitly between Marlow and his mother. The former is expressed in Tony’s professed hatred of his mother, though it is a hatred that makes him insistent on constantly waging war with her.
If he truly despised her, he could simply blow her off, but he takes too much pleasure in wickedly tormenting her through his tricks and behavior. Many characters remark on how they spoil one another, which parallels a sort of destructive romantic relationship, all of which can be interpreted through a Freudian lens. In terms of Marlow, his strange behavior can be linked to a self-hatred, an inability to appreciate his own love of “immodest” woman and inability to speak to “modest” woman whom he feels he ought to appreciate.
At one point, he mentions that his mother was the only “modest” woman he could ever speak to, which could suggest that their relationship has polluted him somewhat, led him to compare other women to her and hence to grow into a bumbler when attempting to woo them romantically. Quotes and Analysis 1. “Let school-masters puzzle their brain, With grammar, and nonsense, and learning; Good liquor, I stoutly maintain, Gives genius a better discerning. ” Tony Lumpkin’s song, Act I, pg. 6 This opening to Tony’s song helps to establish one of Goldsmith’s aims – to properly appreciate “low” behavior.
Here, Tony sets two different lifestyles in opposition: proper life versus base life. While the play has a conservative streak that keeps it from entirely embracing baseness as the key to life, it does propose that moderation ought accept that a life of “good liquor” can grant us a perspective into human absurdity and folly, whereas a life solely dedicated to proper education would not provide such insight. 2. “So I find this fellow’s civilities begin to grow troublesome. But who can be angry at those assiduities which are meant to please him! ” Hastings, about Hardcastle, Act II, p. 8 Hastings speaks this to himself about Hardcastle, whom Hastings still thinks is the landlord. Hardcastle’s attempts to speak with Hastings and Marlow are annoying the latter two. To some extent, the quote is a great indication of the dramatic irony that gives most of the weight to the play’s comedy. However, it also touches on the confusion of class, behavior, and expectation that is central to the play’s themes. What Hastings asks could be argued to be true of all aristocratic folk who are particular and picky about what is “acceptable” to their standard of living.
Goldsmith suggests a view of humanity that is far more complex, contradictory, and nuanced, and finds amusing and absurd the nature of humankind that leads high-class folk to look down upon the fun part of life that is meant to please them. 3. “Pardon me madam. I was always willing to be amused. The folly of most people is rather an object of mirth than uneasiness. ” Marlow, to Kate, Act II, pg. 20 Marlow speaks this in his first meeting with Kate, the conversation in which he cannot look her in the eye.
This quote is very much a statement of Goldsmith’s perspective on the world, and a defense of his purpose in vaulting “laughing comedy” above “sentimental comedy. ” Part of what both defines Goldsmith’s perspective and marks Kate as the heroine is the ability to laugh at folly, rather than judging harshly a person’s lapse from virtue. 4. “True madam; those who have most virtue in their mouths, have least of it in their bosom. ” Marlow to Kate, Act II, pg. 22 Marlow speaks this in his first meeting with Kate, the conversation in which he cannot look her in the eye.
It is a straightforward yet profound declaration about the hypocrisy and contradictions of people. While Goldsmith finds these contradictions and the absurdity engendered by them amusing (consider Marlow’s different behaviors and how so much comedy comes from them), he equally finds the hypocrisy of sanctimony unattractive. It is this sanctimony that offends him about sentimental comedy, and which also infects his “high”’ characters. The truth is that Marlow and Hastings love pub food over more refined fare, or that Mrs. Hardcastle’s virtue hides greed for her son. . “It’s very odd, I can read the outside of my letters, where my own name is, well enough. But when I come to open it, it’s all – buzz. That’s hard, very hard; for the inside of the letter is always the cream of the correspondence. ” Tony, about the letter that’s arrived from Hastings, Act IV, pg. 45 Tony cannot read the letter that arrives from Hastings (bearing the news that Hastings is waiting for him in the garden). However, this quote produces a great symbol for one the play’s themes: the absurd contradictions that truly define people.
Where high-minded folks (and the sentimental comedy Goldsmith believes they prefer) tries to praise their superficial virtue, he believes that people deep down are actually full of contradictions and attractions to more “low” interests. In the same way that the outside of the letter is recognizable and suggests an easy identity, while the inside is more complicated and harder to read, so it is that the characters in Goldsmith’s play are recognizable comic types at first but far more complex when investigated. 6. “Ha, ha, ha, I understand; you took them in a round, while they supposed themselves going forward.
And so you have at last brought them home again. ” Hasting, to Tony, Act V, pg. 53 Literally, the quote concerns the way Tony drove Mrs. Hardcastle and Constance around haphazardly so that they wouldn’t be too far from the Hardcastle home. However, it is a great symbol for the structure of the play as well. At the beginning, everyone’s goal is clear: Marlow and Kate are meeting to judge each other as potential mates; Hastings wants to see his beloved; and the parents are interested in securing favorable matches for their children.
The one exception is Tony, whose conception of life is that fun and liveliness are the guiding principles. However, Goldsmith wishes us to see that such a philosophy is more than just hedonism, but rather can lead to greater happiness and truth. Because of Tony’s tricks (the biggest of which is that which he plays on Marlow and Hastings), everyone has a crazy night of mistakes but ends up “home” again, grounded and happier than they otherwise would have been. 7. “Prudence once more comes to my relief, and I will obey its dictates. In the moment of passion, fortune may be despised, but it ever produces a lasting repentance.
I’m resolved to apply to Mr. Hardcastle’s compassion and justice for redress. ” Constance, to Hastings, Act V, pg. 56 In Constance’s idea of how she and her beloved should proceed, we get a glimpse of the pragmatism that keeps Goldsmith’s play from ever veering into cliche sentimental territory even if the ending is somewhat a conventional “happy ending. ” The truth is that, while in plays and entertainments lovers will happily choose one another at the expense of money, Goldsmith wishes us to see that in real life, fortune cannot be so easily written off for those who lack sufficient income.
Constance cannot run off into the sunset with Hastings – life requires money – and so she must apply to Hardcastle for help. It’s a pragmatic truth that colors and deepens the play. 8. “I have lived, indeed, in the world, madam; but I have kept little company. I have been but an observer upon life, madam, while others were enjoying it. ” Marlow, to Kate, Act II, pg. 20 Marlow speaks this in his first meeting with Kate, the conversation in which he cannot look her in the eye.
Though Marlow is stammering, he touches upon one of the central questions of the play: whether it is better to stay removed from life, judging it, or to live in all of its complexity and absurdity? Obviously, Goldsmith answers with the latter option, though his full response values moderation more than a simple choice. The best option is to live life but also to be able to judge and laugh at it. Kate is able to do this because she appreciates both the country and the city way of life, whereas most other characters pay for veering too strongly in one or the other direction. . “Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no fibs. I procured them by the rule of thumb. If I had not a key to every drawer in mother’s bureau, how could I go to the alehouse so often as I do? An honest man may rob himself of his own at any time. ” Tony, to Hastings, Act III, pg. 29 Literally, Tony is explaining to Hastings how he was able to steal the jewels he passes on to them. But this quote further illustrates his philosophy of life, which espouses a more complex idea of virtue and vice than that assumed by the high-class characters.
For Tony, a man is allowed to “rob himself,” which could mean more than just taking money or jewels, but also engaging in baseness for oneself (such as he does at the alehouse). In fact, to engage in our baser nature is not only acceptable but preferable since it acknowledges a truth of who we are. He would not go so far as to harm or “rob” others, as he says, meaning he engages in such behavior not to harm anyone else, but just to enjoy his own life. Many of the characters play around with this theme, in coming towards their acceptance of their real human, base natures.
Tony stands as the central proponent of this philosophy. 10. “Pshaw, pshaw! This is all but the whining end of a modern novel. ” Mrs. Hardcastle, Act V, p. 59 Mrs. Hardcastle snidely makes this observation as both couples are arranging their happiness in the play’s final moments. It is a useful observation to consider, since it also serves as a bit of commentary on the play itself, perhaps sculpted by Goldsmith to provide awareness that his play is veering into the very territory he professed it would eschew: that of the sentimental comedy that praises virtue rather than mocking folly.
Whether or not his play is guilty of the trespasses it seeks to condemn is open to interpretation, but the fact that Goldsmith is deliberately confronting these questions of how to craft an entertaining, satisfying work while trying not to undercut his message and theme is undeniable, as this quote shows. He is aware that the end could be construed that way, and is attempting to address it. Having this complaint come from the least discerning character in the play shows that Goldsmith might believe a more discerning audience would see his ending is not quite so sentimental. She Stoops to Conquer is a master piece in using dramatic irony . Explain? The play is a masterpiece of dramatic irony, which is a device where the audience has information and knowledge that the characters do not. From the moment Tony plays the practical joke on Marlow and Hastings, the audience learns secrets that will grow more complicated and hence create confusion that leads to hilarious situations. The best example is perhaps the way Marlow and Hastings treat Hardcastle, because they think him a landlord.
Because we understand the details of the confusions, we understand the jokes whereas the characters only grow more offended. However, the behavior wrought by the dramatic irony reveals much of Goldsmith’s view on humanity and class. The same example listed above is funny, but also shows the cruelty that comes from a rich man’s entitlement. Throughout the play, much of the class commentary derives from the behaviors people show when they don’t’ realize they are being judged. Kate exploits this to try and find out what kind of person Marlow actually is. 2. discuss humor in she stoops to conquer ???
The second play of Goldsmith ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ was produced in 1771. This play marks a departure from the first play and practically introduces the reign of humour in comedy. The entire play with its fun and humour, its intrigues and sparkling dialogues, its mischievous tricks and roguish attempts by Tony Lumpkin deals a direct blow on the sentimental comedy. A piquant observation, elements of ingenious and new realism, a welling froth of pleasantry that never dries up, bathe even the rare movements when emotion could rise all go to make this charming comedy an unalloyed source of amusement.
The principal characters of this comedy are Mr. Hardcastle who loves everything that is old; old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine etc. Mrs Hardcastle and Miss Hardcastle their daughter; Mrs Hardcastle’s son by a former marriage, Tony Lumpkin, a frequenter of ‘The Three Pigeons’, idle and ignorant, but cunning and mischievous, and doted on by his mother; and young Marlow, one of the most bashful and reserved young fellows in the world except with barmaids and servant-girls.
Marlow’s father, Sir Charles Marlow has proposed a match between young Marlow and Miss Hardcastle and the young man and his friend, Hastings accordingly travel down to pay the Hardcastles a visit. Losing their way they arrive at night at ‘The Three Pigeons’, where Tony Lumpkin decides to play a prank on them. He directs them to a neighbouring inn, which is in reality the Hardcastle’s House. The fun of the play arises largely from the resulting misunderstanding, Marlow treating Mr Harcastle as the Landlord of the supposed inn and making violent love to Miss Hardcastle, whom he takes for on of his servants.
This contrasts with his bashful attitude when presented to her in real character. The arrival of Sir Charles Marlow clears up the misconception and all ends well, including the subsidiary love affair between Hastings and Miss Hardcastle’s cousin, Miss Neville, whom Mrs Harcastle destines for Tony Lumpkin. The play is a charming one in which the rough edges of the world are ground smooth, in which faults turn out to be virtues and mistakes to be blessings. Its characters are particularly delightful. Tony Lumpkin is a genuine child of the soil and is said to be a monitor.
Tony Lumpkin is loved by the readers of the comedy for his pleasant fun and nice jokes. Mr Hardcastle is another character whom we all like because he loves everything that is old. Mrs Hardcastle who appears more like a sentimental mother becomes pathetic because of the way in which she is treated by her son, Tony Lumpkin. Young Marlow and Miss Hardcastle come out as fine lovers and this pair of lovers is well matched by Hastings and Miss Hardcastle’s cousin. In ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ Goldsmith succeeds in introducing the humour of the finest type.
The plot also is well-knitted and the characters have everything of comedy about them. The old mawkish sentimentality is driven out and sense of pathos is supplanted by mirth and delight. Tony’s treatment of his mother, particularly when he drives her round and round the house, would have been extremely pathetic. Goldsmith drives out pathos from the scene and makes it truly comic. Thus everywhere in ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ Goldsmith introduces the qualities of a true comedy. 3. She stoops to conquer is a comedy of manners. Discuss
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 derived 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. . Compare between Marlow and Hasting? Marlow is a shy young man, who has a hard time communicating with ladies. He’s a gentleman and considered to be honorable, but when put to the task of proposing to a young woman of quality….. he becomes tongue tied and unable to speak. Note….. he has no trouble speaking to those he believes are not up to his own standards. Hasting, on the other hand, is a confidant and well-spoken young man, no matter who he speaks with. He could charm just about any woman of any class……. he might want to give marlow some lessons. Major Themes
Class While the play is not explicitly a tract on class, 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 of. 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 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 behavior would be perfectly reasonable and expected from a member of the upper class, as he truly is. Money 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. And Tony seems to live a life unconcerned with wealth, although the implicit truth is that his dalliances are facilitated by having access to wealth. Behavior/Appearance One of the elements Goldsmith most skewers in his play’s satirical moments is the aristocratic emphasis on behavior as a gauge of character.
Even though we today believe that one’s behavior – in terms of “low” versus “high” class behavior – does not necessarily indicate who someone is, many characters in the play are often blinded to a character’s behavior because of an assumption. For instance, Marlow and Hastings treat Hardcastle cruelly because they think him the landlord of an inn, and are confused by his behavior, which seems forward. The same behavior would have seemed appropriately high-class if they hadn’t been fooled by Tony.
Throughout the play, characters (especially Marlow) assume they understand someone’s behavior when what truly guides them is their assumption of the other character’s class. Moderation Throughout the play runs a conflict between the refined attitudes of town and the simple behaviors 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 bumpkinish.
The best course of action is proposed through Kate, who is praised by Marlow as having a “refined simplicity. ” Having lived in town, she is able to appreciate the values of both sides of life and can find happiness in appreciating the contradictions that exist between them. Contradiction Most characters in the play want others to be simple to understand. This in many ways mirrors the expectations of an 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 mocked because of their silly, base natures, and no one is above reproach. Comedy 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 derived 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. Deceit/Trickery Much of this play’s comedy comes from the trickery played by various characters.
The most 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 touches to the center of the play’s more major themes. In a sense, the only reason anyone learns anything about their deep assumptions about class and behavior 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 also is true for the Hardcastles and Sir Charles, who are able to see the contradictions in others because of what trickery engenders.