She Stoops to Conquer

She Stoops to Conquer

eBook - 2012
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A farce telling the story of the Hardcastle family's mishaps and adventures in their undertaking to marry off a single daughter.
Publisher: Burnsville, MN : Mackin Educational Resources, [2012]
Copyright Date: ©2012
ISBN: 9781621706861
Characteristics: 1 online resource (137 pages).


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Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer offers a very interesting commentary on prescribed gender roles of the time period, especially when considering that the character with the most agency in the play is a young woman. Goldsmith's play also yields critical insights into the class divisions of eighteenth-century England and, ultimately, challenges the notion that the prevailing distribution of power along class lines is a "natural" one.

Jan 14, 2018

Drama in which men and women mislead each other in courtship. See the play. The script is confusing.


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JCLS_Digital_Services thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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Things You Should Know Before Reading She Stoops to Conquer
by J. Commander
She Stoops to Conquer (1773) was written by Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774), an Irishborn
poet, playwright, essayist, and fiction writer and a prominent member of Samuel
Johnson's famous Literary Club. Trained in medicine at the University of Edinburgh,
Goldsmith eventually fell into hack writing after failing to make a sufficient living as a
doctor in Southwark (a London borough). His reputation as an emerging writer was
secured with the publication of his essay An Enquiry into the Present State of Polite
Learning in Europe (1759), which attributes the decline of polite learning, and fine arts in
general, to a dearth of enlightened patrons (and, as a result, a concomitant lack of
superior poets) and to the malign effects of the politically-motivated literary criticism that
characterized the scholarship of his time. An Enquiry into the Present State of Polite
Learning in Europe provides an interesting lens through which to assess She Stoops to
Conquer's representation of the manners of polite society—a society whose artificial
behaviors are so masterfully satirized in Goldsmith's farcical tour de force.
Whereas comedy as a dramatic genre traditionally refers to plays with a light-hearted tone
and a happy ending (usually involving a marriage), She Stoops to Conquer is a comedy
of manners, a form of comedy popular during the Restoration period characterized by
witty dialogue, risqué behavior, sexual innuendo, and satirical portraits of sophisticated
society and its conventions (or “manners”). This genre often employs caricatures (rather
than fully-rounded characters) for comedic effect, which is why plays of this type were
also referred to as “laughing comedies.”
In “An Essay on the Theatre; Or, a Comparison Between Laughing and Sentimental
Comedy” (1773), Goldsmith distinguishes “laughing comedy” from “sentimental
comedy” (plays that appeal primarily to the audience's emotions rather than their
intellect, triumph the inherent goodness of the human character, and promote human
perfectibility) by locating the former as operating within the comedic tradition (whose
purpose is to dramatize the “natural portrait of human folly and frailty” and the humor to
be found therein) and the latter within its tragic counterpart (since the “virtues of private
life are exhibited, rather than the vices exposed; and the distresses rather than the faults of
mankind make our interest”). While literary scholars today find difficulty in identifying
individual plays as either “laughing comedies” or “sentimental comedies” (because many
18th-century comedies contain traits from both subgenres), Goldsmith clearly had this
distinction in mind when he penned She Stoops to Conquer.
[The above material is an open-access resource, which means that it may be redistributed for noncommercial purposes provided that the content's author is properly credited. The above material was first published on]


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Sexual Content: Contains risqué behavior and sexual innuendo, though if the reader has the ability to read and comprehend 18th-century dialogue, s/he is most likely not at a tender age where most parents would worry about her/him being exposed to such content.


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“All is not gold that glitters, Pleasure seems sweet, but proves a glass of bitters.” (Prologue)
“Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no fibs.” (Tony)
"There was a time, indeed, I fretted myself about the mistakes of government, like other people; but finding myself every day grow more angry, and the government growing no better, I left it to mend itself." (Hardcastle)
"Those who have most virtue in their mouths, have least of it in their bosom." (Marlow)
"There are few that do not condemn in public what they practise in private." (Miss Hardcastle)
"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)
"I believe be begins to find out his mistake. But it's too soon quite to undeceive him." (Miss Hardcastle)
"I could almost love him for hating you so." (Miss Hardcastle)
"Pshaw, pshaw! This is all but the whining end of a modern novel." (Mrs Hardcastle)

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