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She Stoops to Conquer. Textual analysis of the plot . Prologue.
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She Stoops to Conquer Textual analysis of the plot
Prologue • In the 18th century It was usual for a prologue to be given before the performance of a play .This prologue was written by David Garrik , the famous actor and manager of a theatre, the actor performed the original dressed in black , and holding a handkerchief to his eyes in mourning for the 'comic muse' • Goldsmith makes clear his dislike of 'sentimental comedy' • He argues that true comedy is dying because of 'sentimental comedy ' , and Goldsmith has come to save it using the idea of five remedies , corresponding to the five acts of the play, he claims that comedy will be cured • The argument is an extended metaphor. Comedy is the patient dying of sentimentalism. Goldsmith is the doctor who is trying to cure it and the audience will decide if he succeeds or not.
ACT 1 • ACT 1, SC.1 : An old-Fashioned House of the Hardcastle • the play is opened in the house of Mr. & Mrs. Hardcastle somewhere in the country side. A conversation between Mr.& Mrs. Hardcastle stats the play.Goldsmith gives plenty of information concerning character , situation and plot so that the audience can predict what is likely to happen . The following information is given : • The relationships of the characters : Mr & Mrs. Hardcastle, her son Tony by a first husband, and their daughter Kate; the situation of Constance Neville • The nature of the characters : Mrs. Hardcastle's pretensions , Mr. Hardcastle's traditionalism, Kate's intelligence and practicality. Tony is established as spoilt, drinking , illiterate and, immature silly country boy whose mother plans to marry him to Constance • The situation : the Hardcastles are preparing for the arrival of the son of Sir Charles Marlow, a family friend , as the prospective suitor of Kate. • The playwright here sets the situation up and offers a clue as to what might happen next. The conversation between Mr & Mrs. Hardcastle which shows their contrasted personalities was a source of humour. Kate's nature gives us a different view of women from that in the earlier Restoration comedies
ACT1, SC2 : An Alehouse Room • Tony lumpkin : Tony plays his joke • Tony's joke on Marlow and Hardcastle sets the mistakes o f the night in motion • The plot begins with Tony misdirecting Marlow and Hastings, these setting up the central joke of mistaken identities. Tony's character here is expanded and the whole atmosphere is humorous. From this scene it is advisable to jot down notes about Tony and observe how Goldsmith builds his character through the play to be more than just an immature , silly country boy. The landlord's comment at the end of the scene suggests that Tony has a reputation as a prankster or joker. Tony's description of his sister and his step father is also a source of humour. • Consider the following issues • The use of a prologue in outlining the author's aim • Significance or Mr. Hardcastle's description if the house in establishing he possibility of the joke that follow. • Miss Neviille's description of Marlow's character that enables the deception to occur • The information given by Goldsmith , through his characters, that lays the foundations for the plot and sub-plot . • The use of rural names and descriptions to create humour and comment on the social situation of the time.
ACT 2 : An old- Fashioned House • Preparations : The squire, Mr. Hardcastle and his servants • Hardcastle's efforts to train his servants in the art of waiting at a table provide a considerable humour of clowning and comment on rustic social life • More evidence also of his character is given ,the servants obviously like him and not frightened of him which shows that he is a good-natured traditional country gentleman • The reception : Marlow and Hastings reach the inn • Marlow and Hastings , believing they have arrived an inn, act as customers which confuses Mr. Hardcastle as he expects them to behave like respectful guests. From this misunderstanding , a certain amount of comedy arises. Hardcastle a attempts a conversation with his guests but is interrupted and ignored impudently with requests and criticisms about the menu for supper and the state of the rooms which arises the dramatic irony of the situation. • Marlow and Hastings discuss the problem Marlow has with women of his own class and his admiration of lower-class women. There is social comment on the position of women of lower classes particularly female servants who were the victims of the desires of the family sons at that time.
ACT 2 : An old- Fashioned House • Revelation : Hastings enters into the joke • This scene sets up-the relationship between Constance and Hastings. Hastings, in his conversation with Marlow , explains that he had her dead father's permission to marry her and he loves her for her own person and not for her fortune. • The truth is revealed to Hastings that the inn is the house of Mr. Hardcastle. Hastings explains to Constance his plan for their elopement to France. But Constance wants first to get her jewels from her aunt and then leave with him. • Hasting decides to continue deceiving Marlow about the Hardcastle's house as an inn. • The elopement and the attempt to obtain the jewels form the basis of the comic sub-plot • Marlow's first meeting with Kate • Unable to look her in the face, finding talking with her uneasy, confusing and embarrassing his broken language reflects his reserved and modest manners in dealing with women of his own class. His shyness and embarrassment determines Kate to 'teach him little confidence' • Tony's willingness to help Hastings & Constance to get married • When Hastings realizes that Tony doesn't want to marry Constance, he asks for his help with the elopement. Tony is pleased to help and offers to obtain the jewels. • Consider the following issues • The structure of the act and the way in which the two plots are furthered • The contrast between Marlow's behavior with Kate as a ' barmaid' and when he meets her as Miss Hardcastle • The comic relationship between Tony and Constance • The character of Tony and whether he is more than just a simple joker • The conversation between Hastings and Mrs. Hardcastle and the way in which this draws out both characters
ACT 3 • The height of the confusion in comedy occurs in Act 3 and Act 4 • Dissatisfaction : Father and Daughter • the opening sequence shows Kate and Hardcastle discussing their views of Marlow. Hardcastle is totally offended by the disrespectful behavior of his old friend 's son, Marlow , unable to understand his ill-manners. They discuss their different opinions of Marlow. Kate finds him modest and respectful while her father find's him immodest and impudent .However , they agree to investigate the matter further. • Tony's Trick : Tony's vital action in the sub-plot of Constance & Hastings elopement Tony has been able to steal Miss Neville's casket of jewels from his mother's bureau and gives it to Hastings . obviously this sets up the next joke when Mrs. Hardcastle discovers their loss and considerable humor is obtained as a result of the clowning interchange between Tony and his mother . • Miss Hardcastle's Disguise : Kate’s stooping to Conquer Kate sets up the situation for Marlow who believed her to be barmaid because of her house s wife dress. Attracted to her beauty , he begins to flirt outrageously Marlow's attempted seduction of Kate as a servant has social comment on the position of women of low classes , for Marlow's ability to flirt outrageously with them means that he values them less. During that time , female servants were abused and mistreated by employers and the sons of high class families.
ACT 3 • Consider the following issues of Act 3 • Look at the various ways in which Goldsmith uses comedy such as : verbal wit, situation comedy , and clowning in quick succession to maintain the interest of his audience. • Several references are indicated to remind the audience of the timescale • The way that the different sides of Marlow are shown • Kate's ability to control the continued deception of Marlow to achieve her goal • The development of Tony's character and the way in which he helps Constance to get her jewels • Consider the social position of women as shown by Marlow's treatment of Kate as barmaid , and Constance's position in the Hardcastle family • The development of the main plot and sub-plot of the play
ACT 4 • Marlow & Hastings: The Fate of the jewels • The scene opens with the sub-blot of Constance Neville and Hastings. Hastings and Constance have decided to leave before the arrival of Sir Charles Marlow who is expected to arrive in the evening. Unfortunately Hasting’s, plan of elopement with the casket of jewels has been failed. Marlow ,with whom Hastings has left the casket of jewels, passes it to the landlady ,for safe keeping .Having deceived his friend all this time, Hastings is unable to say anything • Marlow realizes his mistake • Mr. Hardcastle, irritated by the impudent behavior of Marlow which he couldn't endure any longer, warns Marlow that he would report his behavior to his father, Sir Charles Marlow , who would be arriving soon. Marlow realizes , with horror, the mistake he has made. Marlow is incredibly embarrassed not only by his disrespectful treatment of Hardcastle but also because of his intentions to seduce Kate • The Fatal Letter • The elopement plot is revealed to Mrs. Hardcastle. Hastings sends a letter to Tony, not knowing that he is almost illiterate , Tony passes it to Mrs. Hardcastle who decides to send Constance to live with her aunt, Pedigree, whom she hates • The act concludes in confusion. Tony has the last word and resolves to sort out the situation . The audience are left to consider how the two plots might be resolved in Act 5.
ACT 4 • The structure of the act : Goldsmith uses farce • Structurally , the act , with its many exits and entrances, resemble a farce . As one character leaves , another enters and the comedy occurs because characters don't meet • This act is full of features of farce, not only are there mistaken identities , the muddle with the jewels allows the audience to know more than any of the characters • The act also contains a good example of traditional clowning in the exchange between Tony and his mother • Humour is also created in the incident with the letter to Tony. Not only the audience laughs at Tony's illiteracy, but also of Constance's vain attempts to rescue the arrangement she has planned with Hastings • This scene has been cleverly constructed to push the sub-plot further towards its climax while keeping the audience interested in the main plot which will also move further. The action speeds up as the act proceeds , becoming faster and more comic as one incident leads to another. The act concludes with Tony stating that he is going to resolve the situation, leaving the audience in suspense for Act 5 • Consider the following issues • The way in which Marlow begins to change his attitude towards Kate • The growing development of the sub-plot • The clever way in which Goldsmith enables Marlow to discover part of the truth
ACT 5 • ACT 5, Sc 1 • Sir Charles Marlow arrives • The arrival of Sir Charles is announced and the two men , Sir Charles & Mr. Hardcastle , discuss young Marlow's mistake with good humor .Further confusion is caused by whether Marlow has behaved improperly with Kate or not • The idea of mistaken identity is continued , despite Marlow knowing that he is in the house of his father's friend . The audience is reminded that Marlow still doesn't know that the girl with whom he falls in love is the same girl he is intended to marry so , he believes that there are two women: Kate and the poor relation. This gives rise to further confusion and humour • This mistake forms the basis of the misunderstanding between Marlow and Hardcastle the two men, Sir Charles and Mr. Hardcastle , decide to hide while Kate shows them that Marlow loves her • Sc2 • Tony's plan : Tony and his mother • As the main plot, involving Marlow and Kate, Comes to a conclusion , so the sub-plot begins to achieve its comic climax . This scene is set at the bottom of the garden Tony tells Hastings and the audience that his trick to prevent his mother's plan has worked . When she realizes the true situation she chases Tony off stage. Meanwhile , Constance decides to appeal to Mr. Hardcastle, refusing the idea of elopement • SC3 • Marlow and Kate • The play returns to the main plot. Kate reassures the two old men that observing here with Marlow will explain everything . At this point, Marlow becomes aware of Kate's true identity • Happy Endings • Loose ends are tied up very quickly with the arrival of Constance , Hasting and Tony. Mr. Hardcastle tells Tony that he came of age and that he can marry whoever he chooses. The play ends happily with two marriages and two happy families
Comedy of Intrigue • It is mainly a situational comedy which depends largely upon tricks in the plot. It has love as its theme. The very basis of the play is an intrigue. It provides humour, but are necessary for furthering the sub-plot of Kate & Marlow, Constance & Hastings. • The main intriguer of the play is Tony • Tony's tricks upon the guests, his mother • Constance joined Tony in the intrigue to deceive Mrs. Hardcastle that they are in love as she wants • Hastings and Constance are joined in the intrigue to keep Marlow under the illusion that the house is an inn • Kate is also a part of the same intrigue, though she has additional motive of making Marlow mistake her for a barmaid
Act 5 Commentary • Overhearing is a common comic device used in drama to create misunderstanding and further the plot , so the old men spying on Kate and Marlow not only creates humour for the audience but helps the plot come to a realistic conclusion • The use of language, comic names and accounts of duck ponds and oldlady to describe Mrs. Hardcastle creates humour and makes the appearance of the woman funnier , particularly bearing in mind how 'fashion conscious ' she is • Morality of the conclusion • In order not to offend a conservative audience and lose sympathy for Constance, it is important that she decides not to elope but to appeal to the mercy of the elders which confirms the respectability and wisdom of her character and by which she wins the sympathy of the audience . • Marlow's decision to ask his father's permission to marry a woman of lower class, be believing that love is more important , shows strength of character and confidence in his father's judgment. • Despite Goldsmith's opinion about 'sentimental comedy' it is argued that there are elements of sentimentality in the final act. The two pairs of lovers are united and about to be married .Tony is happy with his inheritance and the Three pigeons and the comic dame has been thwarted comically. it all ends happily.