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She Stoops to Conquer

4.5 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1438510408
ISBN-10: 1438510403
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Comedy in five acts by Oliver Goldsmith, produced and published in 1773. This comic masterpiece mocked the simple morality of sentimental comedies. Subtitled The Mistakes of a Night, the play is a lighthearted farce that derives its charm from the misunderstandings which entangle the well-drawn characters. Mr. Hardcastle plans to marry his forthright daughter Kate to bashful Marlow, the son of his friend Sir Charles Marlow. Mrs. Hardcastle wants her recalcitrant son Tony Lumpkin to marry her ward Constance Neville, who is in love with Marlow's friend Hastings. Humorous mishaps occur when Tony dupes Marlow and Hastings into believing that Mr. Hardcastle's home is an inn. By posing as a servant, Kate wins the heart of Marlow, who is uncomfortable in the company of wellborn women but is flirtatious with barmaids. Through various deceptions, Tony releases himself from his mother's clutches and unites Constance with Hastings. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

The plays of Aurand Harris have been produced and applauded in thousands of productions around the world for nearly a half century. Harris was a prodigious dramatist, writing a new published play each season. He was a tireless experimenter of forms, themes, subjects. This modest man of irrepressible imagination and energy carried a vast array of honors and accolades. He was the first recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship in Children's Theatre. He received an honorary doctorate from a mid-western university, and was introduced into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. He was the first playwright to receive the Medallion of the Children's Theatre Foundation of America. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Book Jungle (February 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1438510403
  • ISBN-13: 978-1438510408
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,763,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Oliver Goldsmith may not have had the linguistic virtuosity or satiric audacity of his great contemporary, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, but 'She Stoops to Conquer' is one of the few highpoints in English drama between the Restoration and Oscar Wilde. Ironically, in view of its satirising the slavish devotion to French fashions, the play is influenced by early 18th century French comedy: the plot is very similar to Marivaux's 'The Game of love and chance': two fathers arrange a marriage for their children; this paternal decree is severely shaken by disguises, misrecognitions and counter-plots. The difference being, English comedy is always the funniest, and we get lots of marvellous words like 'obstropalous'.
In effect, this drama consists of characters staging dramas to get their way, which are spoiled by other dramas, e.g. Mr. Hardcastle decides his daughter will marry a man she never met, and arranges their meeting; Tony tells this prospective husband, Marlow, and his friend Hastings, that the gentleman's house they seek is a tavern; Kate disguises herself as a barmaid to woo the diffident Marlow. The effect of all these conflicting dramas is to take a supposedly solid, class-based system, based on paternal and aristocratic power, and reveal it as a fragile one based on illusion, a series of masks and attitudes adopted to suit the required social context, where wrong directions can as easily derail as resolve the social order. The best comedy here comes from characters mistaking the social context, as when Marlow treats his host and future father-in-law as a pesky inn-keeper. Significantly, in this over-cultured milieu, most of the spanners in the works are thrown by the illiterate Tony.
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Format: Paperback
Few English plays dating from the eighteenth century appeal to modern audiences. For much of that period comedies were characterized by an exaggerated sentimentality and intense moralizing. Independently, the playwrights Oliver Goldsmith and Richard Brinsley Sheridan rejected this moralizing mode, returning to the English stage a humorous, mildly satirical form of comedy.

In a short period they created three plays that are still enjoyed today: She Stoops to Conquer (Goldsmith, 1773), The School for Scandal (Sheridan, 1775) and The Rivals (Sheridan, 1777).

In recent months I have read all three play. All are quite good, but I especially liked She Stoops to Conquer and The School for Scandal. While The School for Scandal is widely admired for its witty dialogue, She Stoops to Conquer offers the most hilarious situations.

The basic theme in She Stoops to Conquer is familiar. The guardians, her father Mr. Hardcastle and her aunt Mrs. Hardcastle, have arranged a suitable marriage for young Miss Hardcastle. She, of course, has other plans. Oliver Goldsmith adroitly transformed this overly used situation into delightful comedy. The plot is complicated by a shy suitor, friends with their own plans of elopement, and an unruly prankster, all leading to utter confusion in the rustic Hardcastle household. I quickly became engaged with the ridiculous happenings; I read She Stoops to Conquer in a single sitting. Five stars.

Possible Interest - Another Comedy and Two Moralizing Plays:

John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, first staged in 1728 in London, was another exception to the moralizing trend in the eighteenth century. This delightful, satirical comedy is considered the first modern musical. Five stars.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This play is a rollicking satire on the British caste system of that era, seen through the mischief, mayhem, and mistaken identities of this work. Almost a must-read!
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Format: Leather Bound Verified Purchase
As a former English major, and current English teacher, I am fond of reading literary works, both English and American. I was pleasantly surprised to find Oliver Goldsmith's play in five acts, "She Stoops to Conquer" in this handsome 1978 Easton Press edition. The title (it is also known as "The Mistakes of a Night") is taken from Apra Behn's mid-17th century play "The Rover." The phrase "she stoops to conquer" is aptly used here as a title as the central story is about a young woman, Kate Hardcastle, who upon realizing that wealthy Charles Marlow is awkward around upper class women, decides to pretend to be a maid so that he will fall for her. It's a comedy and is really quite entertaining (I last read it when I was at university), and the exquisite leather binding, moire endleaves, satin ribbon pagemarker, and illustrations by T.M. Cleland make this a nice addition to my Easton Press library.
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Format: Paperback
This play is a wonderful little comedic satire that is as funny now as when it was written in 1773. Mr. Goldsmith's characters are wonderful, and the storyline is funny without being "sappy". His characters are so very human! He does not shy away from exposing human frailities, and he does it in such a way that no one would take offence to it. His characters make common human mistakes based on misunderstandings and practical jokes, but his characters are not tragically changed from these occurences. They, as well as the audience, understand human frailties, and look upon these as things that help us grow. This is a jovial, friendly play that is well worth the time it takes to read it. I find that reading plays is a nice alternate to reading long novels. A little different from short stories. I like the economies of a play. So much is written and so much is implied all in five scenes.
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