Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer


Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer


  • Intro

    She Stoops to Conquer is a play of mistaken identities, practical jokes, and plots-within-plots. The play was first performed at Covent Garden on 15 March 1773, and its fast-paced storyline centres on the spirited Kate Hardcastle's attempts to win over the rich but socially inept young aristocrat Charles Marlow by pretending to be a barmaid. It draws on many of the conventions and character-types of Shakespearean comedy: Kate's quick-witted play-acting places her firmly in the tradition of cross-dressing heroines such as Rosalind and Viola, while the joker Tony Lumpkin has been described by one critic as ‘a mischievous Puck in 18th-century riding clothes'. The emphasis on deception, disguise and farcical confusion draws attention to the play's theatricality, but it also contains some vivid moments of psychological realism.


    Its author, Oliver Goldsmith, was born in rural Ireland and studied in Dublin, Edinburgh and Paris before settling in London. He was best known in his own lifetime as a novelist and poet, and She Stoops to Conquer is by far his most famous play.

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