She Stoops to Conquer, Oliver Goldsmith, 1773
- being pretty much the only play written in the 18th century that anyone still cares about. This was not a great century for literature, guys.
She Stoops to Conquer is a Congreve-esque comedy of situation. A young aristocrat discovers that her potential suitor is terribly shy around gentlewomen, so she poses as a serving girl in order to win his affection. Meanwhile, her mischievous step-brother pulls some amusing pranks.
I don’t have a whole lot to say about this particular piece of literature. It’s a funny play. The comedy centers around characters misunderstanding each other’s’ rank and behaving inappropriately. It’s very much in the same vein as Congreve, but pared down a bit. More jokes, fewer aphorisms. If you enjoy reading/seeing plays, this one is definitely worth your time.
HARDCASTLE. Depend upon it, child, I’ll never control your
choice; but Mr. Marlow, whom I have pitched upon, is the son
of my old friend, Sir Charles Marlow, of whom you have heard
me talk so often. The young gentleman has been bred a scholar,
and is designed for an employment in the service of his country.
I am told he’s a man of an excellent understanding.
MISS HARDCASTLE. Is he?
HARDCASTLE. Very generous.
MISS HARDCASTLE. I believe I shall like him.
HARDCASTLE. Young and brave.
MISS HARDCASTLE. I’m sure I shall like him.
HARDCASTLE. And very handsome.
MISS HARDCASTLE. My dear papa, say no more, (kissing his hand), he’s mine; I’ll have him.
You might like this play if you like:
- William Congreve.
- Oscar Wilde.
- a good prank.
You might not like this play if:
- you’re more into Pinter and dramas than Wilde and comedies.