Monday, September 30, 2019
In the country, people are forced to confront their faults and lead a more honest way of life. Consider She Stoops to Conquer in the light of this comment
Traditionally the pastoral genre celebrates the virtues of simple, unsophisticated life removed from the city. The rural countryside hosts a nostalgic population longing for a bucolic paradise where people live in peace, harmony and honesty, similar to the existence of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden before the fall. This depiction of idyllic rural life is presented by Goldsmith in She Stoops to Conquer, however the deception of characters throughout the play can be seen to distort this view of traditional country life. Goldsmith uses the character of Mr Hardcastle to epitomise the honest nature of country folk. Mr Hardcastle is presented as a traditional, old country squire, who is characterised as open and direct. He confesses honestly that he Ã¢â¬Ëloves everything thatÃ¢â¬â¢s oldÃ¢â¬â¢ and that heÃ¢â¬â¢s not interested in Ã¢â¬ËvanityÃ¢â¬â¢. Ã¢â¬ËVanityÃ¢â¬â¢ suggests superficiality and that true character traits are omitted by Ã¢â¬ËjewelsÃ¢â¬â¢ and Ã¢â¬ËornamentsÃ¢â¬â¢ in order to deceive those around and promote a dishonest appearance. Hardcastle associates this Ã¢â¬ËvanityÃ¢â¬â¢ with the town, which is seen traditionally in pastoral literature as nefarious and corrupt compared to the simple, pragmatic country setting. It could be interpreted that Mr HardcastleÃ¢â¬â¢s long life spent in the country, shown through use of the name Ã¢â¬ËsquireÃ¢â¬â¢ which has connotations of a rural existence, has resulted in his genuine personality, Ã¢â¬Ëto be plain with you. Ã¢â¬â¢ However, Goldsmith uses asides in HardcastleÃ¢â¬â¢s speech to show his anguish over the impudence of Ã¢â¬Ësuch a brazen dogÃ¢â¬â¢, Marlow. The asides present HardcastleÃ¢â¬â¢s true feelings of disgust towards the town folk which contrasts his direct speech to Marlow which remains dignified and respectful, shown through the address of Ã¢â¬ËsirÃ¢â¬â¢. These asides present Hardcastle as a less direct character than originally perceived, suggesting country dwellers can be just as malicious as those from the town and subsequently, a country existence doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t necessarily equate to an honest way of life. Despite this, it is the rudeness of Marlow and Hastings which arouses these feelings in Hardcastle through curt demands for Ã¢â¬Ëwarm punchÃ¢â¬â¢. This reflects a primary theme in the pastoral genre of the town corrupting the country, since Hardcastle is cordial towards his servants as Goldsmith refers to each by their first name in HardcastleÃ¢â¬â¢s speech, Ã¢â¬ËDiggoryÃ¢â¬â¢, and HardcastleÃ¢â¬â¢s rude asides are presented to be spawned from the impudence of the town characters, thus suggesting that the country promotes courteous manners meanwhile the town corrupts and faults characters. Goldsmith characterises some characters as self-deceiving and deluded, which is technically a weakness. Unlike Mr HardcastleÃ¢â¬â¢s love of Ã¢â¬ËoldÃ¢â¬â¢, Mrs Hardcastle contrarily speaks positively of the town, commenting on its ability to Ã¢â¬Ërub off the rustÃ¢â¬â¢, Ã¢â¬ËrustÃ¢â¬â¢ suggests that Mrs Hardcastle finds country life dull, contrasting the excitement of Ã¢â¬ËLondonÃ¢â¬â¢ and the Ã¢â¬ËfashionsÃ¢â¬â¢. Goldsmith uses references to places in London to suggest that Mrs Hardcastle is informed on Ã¢â¬Ëevery tete-a-teteÃ¢â¬â¢, only to later reveal that ironically Mrs Hardcastle only Ã¢â¬Ëenjoy(s) London at second-handÃ¢â¬â¢, through the Ã¢â¬ËScandalous MagazineÃ¢â¬â¢, which comically illuminates the fact she has never actually visited London. To enforce this irony, Goldsmith utilises some references to sinister settings in London in MarlowÃ¢â¬â¢s speech, Ã¢â¬ËbredÃ¢â¬â¢ at Ã¢â¬ËTower WharfÃ¢â¬â¢, which was not a fashionable area in the 18th century and was notorious for thievery which Mrs Hardcastle is ignorant to, shown by her grateful response Ã¢â¬Ëpleased to say soÃ¢â¬â¢. This mockery of Mrs Hardcastle presents her as a pathetic woman who has deluded herself into believing she is astute to Ã¢â¬Ëall the fashionsÃ¢â¬â¢, which can further be interpreted as a fault in her character which remains present at the end of the play, therefore suggesting the country isnÃ¢â¬â¢t necessarily a utopic landscape of retribution. Furthermore, Goldsmith characterises many of the rural characters as simple and stubborn, unwilling to change routine which is mimetic of the unyielding nature of the country, therefore any faults that they may have are irreversible. In TonyÃ¢â¬â¢s song at the Three Pigeons pub, he toasts Ã¢â¬ËhereÃ¢â¬â¢s the Three Jolly Pigeons for everÃ¢â¬â¢, Ã¢â¬Ëfor everÃ¢â¬â¢ has a sense of routine which cannot be altered, reflecting that his life will never change and his tricks and mischief will continue Ã¢â¬Ëfor everÃ¢â¬â¢. Consequently Goldsmith highlights the unyielding characteristic of the country which can nourish pre-existing traits in characters instead of correcting them. The Ã¢â¬ËgentlemenÃ¢â¬â¢ of the town Marlow and Hastings are initially presented by Goldsmith to be sophisticated and scholarly, which was how most men of the town were perceived in the 18th century. However, it soon becomes apparent that both characters possess faults underneath the posh urban veneer. Goldsmith reveals, through Hastings, that Marlow is Ã¢â¬Ësuch a tremblerÃ¢â¬â¢ when he is around women of high status, which is ironic considering he should be able to converse easily with facets of high society to which he himself belongs. Goldsmith then augments this fault in MarlowÃ¢â¬â¢s character through stage directions, Ã¢â¬Ëgathering courageÃ¢â¬â¢, which reveals MarlowÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬Ëawkward addressÃ¢â¬â¢ as he talks to Kate. Nonetheless, through KateÃ¢â¬â¢s deception Marlow is forced to amend his Ã¢â¬Ëbashful mannerÃ¢â¬â¢. Once Marlow Ã¢â¬Ëmistook (Kate) for the barmaidÃ¢â¬â¢ and a woman of low status, because of her attire Ã¢â¬Ëthat every lady wears in the countryÃ¢â¬â¢, he was able to look her Ã¢â¬Ëfull in the faceÃ¢â¬â¢ and speak without hesitation, shown through GoldsmithÃ¢â¬â¢s use of stichomythia, and consequently overcome his faulted nature. Therefore Goldsmith shows that through the simple bucolic, country and its inhabitants, Marlow could relax and correct his imperfections, developing into a more Ã¢â¬ËconfidentÃ¢â¬â¢ character. Furthermore, when itÃ¢â¬â¢s revealed to Marlow that Kate is in fact HardcastleÃ¢â¬â¢s daughter, MarlowÃ¢â¬â¢s embarrassment which he describes as Ã¢â¬Ëworse than deathÃ¢â¬â¢, proves to Hardcastle MarlowÃ¢â¬â¢s earlier impudence was Ã¢â¬Ëall a mistakeÃ¢â¬â¢, which resolved the tension between Hardcastle and Marlow formed from MarlowÃ¢â¬â¢s supposed Ã¢â¬ËbrazenÃ¢â¬â¢ manner. Despite this, KateÃ¢â¬â¢s deception of Marlow could be considered an unresolved fault especially considering a previous title of the play was Mistakes of the Night suggesting KateÃ¢â¬â¢s actions were faulted Ã¢â¬ËmistakesÃ¢â¬â¢, which contradicts the stereotype of rural folk being welcoming and honest. However, KateÃ¢â¬â¢s deception was not malicious, which Goldsmith shows through interjections of laughter in KateÃ¢â¬â¢s speech Ã¢â¬Ëha! ha! ha! Ã¢â¬â¢ The ruse ensured their romance, Ã¢â¬Ëhe loves youÃ¢â¬â¢, which would have gone amiss due to MarlowÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬Ëmauvaise honteÃ¢â¬â¢ and inability to communicate with upper class women. Moreover, during the denouement of the play, Kate revealed to Marlow she was Ã¢â¬Ëthat very identicalÃ¢â¬ ¦ ladyÃ¢â¬â¢ he first met. Therefore KateÃ¢â¬â¢s deception was eventually uncovered in total honesty and thus concluded the play in a traditionally comedic and light hearted manner, with Hardcastle giving his blessing to Marlow, Ã¢â¬Ëboy, take her. Ã¢â¬â¢ Similarly, Tony could be considered as the opposite of the simple, honest doric characters in the play, since he tricks Marlow and Hastings into believing his house is Ã¢â¬Ëone of the best inns in the country. TonyÃ¢â¬â¢s jest actually creates faults in Marlow in Hastings, since they are exploitative of HardcastleÃ¢â¬â¢s good will, Ã¢â¬Ëhe has taken possession of the easy chairÃ¢â¬ ¦ already. Ã¢â¬â¢ The use of Ã¢â¬ËalreadyÃ¢â¬â¢ shows HardcastleÃ¢â¬â¢s disgust at the impudence of the two men, which was only uncovered because of their belief they were staying at an inn which they were paying for, Ã¢â¬ Ëbring me my billÃ¢â¬â¢, the use of the imperative in MarlowÃ¢â¬â¢s speech highlights his insolence towards Hardcastle. Although TonyÃ¢â¬â¢s jest created more faults in characters and led to MarlowÃ¢â¬â¢s lack of respect towards Hardcastle, TonyÃ¢â¬â¢s trick; like KateÃ¢â¬â¢s, wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t vicious nor did it have any lasting effects. Clive Fuller reviewed the stage performance in Birmingham and said Ã¢â¬Å"there is great farce as the deception unfoldsÃ¢â¬ reflecting the comedy of the situation which proves no great harm is caused. Once the ruse had been discovered, everything was settled and the characters resolved their issues, shown through the stage directions Ã¢â¬Ëjoining their handsÃ¢â¬â¢ which represents unity in the household. Moreover, TonyÃ¢â¬â¢s deception of Marlow enabled Kate to pretend to be the Ã¢â¬ËbarmaidÃ¢â¬â¢ at the Ã¢â¬ËinnÃ¢â¬â¢, which ultimately resulted in her romance with him, Ã¢â¬Ëhe loves youÃ¢â¬â¢, thus TonyÃ¢â¬â¢s trick can be viewed as intending to amuse rather than destroy, suggesting the country does promote honest living. Throughout She Stoops to Conquer, Goldsmith illuminates many faults in each character, most of which are amended at the end of the play, subsequently ending the piece in a light-hearted manner and in the style of a traditional Shakespearean comedy, with which GoldsmithÃ¢â¬â¢s work was associated. Therefore overall, the country and its many inhabitants do often lead a more honest life and encourage other faulted characters to do the same.