Places: She Stoops to Conquer

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1773

First produced: 1773

Type of work: Drama

Type of plot: Comedy of manners

Time of work: Eighteenth century

Places DiscussedHardcastle Mansion

Hardcastle She Stoops to ConquerMansion. This village dwelling is a substantially built house, which nevertheless must have been timbered and devoid of the familiar medieval stone turrets and towers that marked the castles of the nobility and the upper class. The mansion can be easily mistaken for a country inn. This mistaken identity of place represents the major theme of the play. The Englishman, especially the male, is a modern person for whom identity is always a question; a satisfactory resolution of identity depends on a wise marriage of the old and the new, in which both the man and the woman are strong characters. The complex nature of the house in the play symbolizes this theme.

Three Pigeons Inn

Three Pigeons Inn. Tavern whose taproom is the location where the plot of mistaken identity is planned by Tony Lumpkin, who is even more innovative in his notions of identity than the marrying couple of the play. Drinking and the carefree life of the tavern may represent future social change for Goldsmith, or at least his mockery of it in the play.

Feather-bed Lane

Feather-bed Lane. Bumpy road on which the wild roundabout ride in the final act of the play begins only to end in the pond. The comic chase represents again how revolutionary Goldsmith is with his suggestions of a changing British society, in which town and country values are tossed together.

BibliographyDixon, Peter. Oliver Goldsmith Revisited. Boston: Twayne, 1991. Solid introduction to Goldsmith’s work in general and She Stoops to Conquer in particular. Details the biographical episode that inspired Goldsmith to write the comedy and ties the play to Goldsmith’s theories on dramatic writing.Quintana, Ricardo. Oliver Goldsmith: A Georgian Study. New York: Macmillan, 1967. Enthusiastic and graceful study of Goldsmith’s work. Places less emphasis on the drama itself and more on the circumstances surrounding the play’s production and theatrical success.Sells, A. Lytton. Oliver Goldsmith: His Life and Works. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1974. Examines Goldsmith’s life and offers a chapter on his writing the play and the problems he faced presenting it on the London stage. Offers two chapters on Goldsmith the dramatist and critically scrutinizes She Stoops to Conquer.Swarbrick, Andrew, ed. The Art of Oliver Goldsmith. London: Vision Press, 1984. Ten essays touching on all aspects of Goldsmith’s writings. Contains Bernard Harris’ engaging “Goldsmith in the Theatre,” examining Goldsmith’s dramatic career, theater philosophy, and difficulties in staging She Stoops to Conquer.Worth, Katharine. Sheridan and Goldsmith. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992. Intelligent investigation of the playwriting careers of Oliver Goldsmith and Richard Brinsley Sheridan, with special attention given to Goldsmith’s intense dislike of the prevailing sentimental comedy. Long chapter on She Stoops to Conquer is an excellent discussion of the boisterous play.
Categories: Places