''The Rivals'' as an Anti-Sentimental Comedy


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''The Rivals'' as an Anti-Sentimental Comedy

  1. 1. The Rivals as an AntiSentimental Comedy ~ Richard Brinsley Sheridan
  2. 2. Paper II: The Neo-Classical Literature • • • • • Student’s Name: Kaushal Desai Class: M.A. Sem-1 Roll No. : 17 Year: 2013/14 Submitted To: Maharaja Krishnakumarsinhji Bhavnagar University
  3. 3. ◘ Richard Brinsley Sheridan → Richard Brinsley Butler Sheridan (30 October 1751 – 7 July 1816) was an Irish playwright and poet and long-term owner of the London Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. He is known for his plays such as The Rivals, The School for Scandal and A Trip to Scarborough. For thirty-two years. He was also a Whig Member of the British House of Commons for Stafford (1780–1806), Westminster (1806–1807) and Alcester (1807–1812). He was buried at Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.
  4. 4. ♣ Anti Sentimental Comedy ○ “Artificial comedy” is another name for the comedy of manners which reached the height of its achievement during the Restoration in England. In the history of British drama, the comic genius of the British nation has expressed it self in several distinct forms. Its most striking manifestation are: Romantic comedy; comedy of humors; comedy of manners etc.
  5. 5. ♦ MAJOR CHARACTERS • Sir Anthony Absolute - A wealthy country gentleman who assumes that those around him will naturally obey his wishes, he has a terrible temper but is also quick to forgive. • Captain Jack Absolute - Sir Anthony’s son, he is enamored of Lydia Languish, and has disguised himself as Ensign Beverley in order to win her hand. Despite the revelation of his deception, he and Lydia wind up together.
  6. 6. • Fag - Jack “gentleman’s gentleman,” he often carries messages and transmits information. • Julia Melville - Sir Anthony’s ward and Lydia’s cousin, she is in love with Faulkland. She is easily the most sensible of the four young lovers in the story. • Mrs. Malaprop - Elderly aunt of Lydia who controls her fortune, she butchers the English language in accordance with her name.
  7. 7. • The Rivals • The Rivals is a comedy of manners, a farce of mistaken identity that has much in common • Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer, which came out two years earlier. Like Goldsmith’s comedy, • A main character masquerades as someone of a lower class to gain romantic advantage • The young lovers must overcome the interference of a country bumpkin and an elderly rich aunt • And a second couple provides a subplot and foil to the main romance. Perhaps the most memorable character • In The Rivals is the elderly aunt, Mrs. Malaprop, who consistently butchers • The English language, taking her name from the solecism in which she so frequently engages • After the first performance of The Rivals, it was panned by the critics, and Sheridan hastily revised • It in less than two weeks, shortening it by over an hour, making some of the characters more sympathetic • And cleaning up the language, after which it was praised enthusiastically.
  8. 8. Sheridan’s intention was to poke fun at the sentimental comedy of the time. We find both Faulkland and Julia absurd. The true character of Faulkland is indicated to us by Absolute’s description of him as the “most teasing, captious, incorrigible lover”. Faulkland’s own description of his state of mind about his beloved Julia also makes him appear absurd. ► He says that every hour is an occasion for him to feel alarmed on Julia’s account. If it rains, he feels afraid lest some shower should have chilled her. If the wind is sharp, he feels afraid lest a rude blast should adversely affect her health. The heat of the noon and the dews of the evening may endanger her health. ► All this is funny and certainly no to be taken seriously. Sheridan is here ridiculing the excessive solicitude and concern which an over-sentimental lover like Faulkland experiences when separated from his beloved. Sheridan seems to be pleading for mental equilibrium even in the case of an ardent lover. ►
  9. 9. ○ The manner in which the other characters have been portrayed is also evidence of the antisentimental character of the play. Captain Absolute is a practical man and though he assumes the name and status of Ensign Beverley, he would not like to forfeit the rich dowry which Lydia will bring him. Mrs. Malaprop is a conventional, practical woman whose attitude to marriage is business-like. Sir Anthony to is a practical, worldly man. Bob Acres is a country boor with no romantic or sentimental pretensions but towards the end of the play he shows that he is more practical than anybody else by saying: “If I can't get a wife without fighting for her, by any valour, I’ll live a bachelor.”
  10. 10. ♀ Summing up ♠ Sheridan's models were the Restoration masters; who in their comedies were guided by a witty ,humorous and satirical portraiture of their society .Sheridan, also, writes in the same vein-is equally satirical in characterization ,witty and brilliant in his dialogues.
  11. 11. kaushaldesai123@gmail.com