How Does Goldsmith Use Disguise And Deception To Create Comic Situations In ‘She Stoops To Conquer’? To What Extent Can We Sympathize With The Victims Of Deceit?

1493 words - 6 pages

How does Goldsmith use disguise and deception to create comic situations in ‘She Stoops to Conquer’? To what extent can we sympathise with the victims of deceit?
In ‘She Stoops to Conquer’; Goldsmith uses disguise and deception in order to create comic situations which arise via the use of dramatic irony. Amusement is often gained as a result of the misfortune at others, as they are deceived. There are therefore, victims of deceit within the play, but as they are often victims of their own arrogance, it is difficult to sympathise with the victims in most cases.
In order for the disguise and deception to be believable from the audience’s point of view, Goldsmith uses dialogues between the ...view middle of the document...

In this case, Marlow asks if his ventre d’or (French for gold belly) waistcoat will match another item of his clothing. This is a very trivial matter of conversation, for which one should not ignore their host. During this conversation, Hardcastle is seen to become increasingly frustrated and angry at Marlow and Hastings causing the audience to laugh at both him, and the Gentlemen. Via this act of deception, an 18th century social commentary arises; as the deception reveals the class prejudices and stereotypes of the period, due to the fact Marlow and Hastings (two self-professed upper class gentlemen) cannot be seen to be socializing with an innkeeper of a lower class. In this situation, the audience may find it difficult to sympathise with Marlow and Hastings (the victims of the deceit), as aforementioned, they are arrogant and rude to Mr Hardcastle, and many members of the audience could believe that retrospectively, they deserved to be deceived.

Throughout the play, Marlow is made a fool of multiple times. Another situation where disguise and deception are employed in order to create comedy, are throughout the scenes where he meets with Kate Hardcastle. In his first meeting with Kate, Marlow acts in a timid fumbling manner, becoming flustered and displaying himself to Kate as a blundering though reserved fool. “(relapsing into timidity) Pardon me, madam, I-I—I— as of yet have studied—only to—deserve them.” In this line from Marlow, the audience can see how you stutters and stammers in the presence of a lady of equal class. Due to Mr Marlow’s manner, Kate does not see a prospective marriage between the two of them, but upon the knowledge that he is a much more cavalier gentleman to women of a “lesser stamp” She Stoops to Conquer him, by disguising herself as a barmaid. In the Third act, we see Kate enter the scene disguised as a barmaid, and attempt to get the attention of Marlow. Upon gaining his attention, Marlow begins to attempt to seduce her, in a completely different manner to how he acted in their first meeting. Believing Kate to be a barmaid of a lower class than him, Marlow is particularly forward with Kate, making statements such as “I vow, child, you are vastly handsome” and “suppose I should call for a taste, just by way of a trial, of the nectar of your lips.” Here the audience may derive much amusement from Kate’s deception of Marlow, as the audience knowing Kate is the Barmaid, would find most amusing the way Marlow acts towards her in contrast to the way he acted upon their first meeting. On a contextual note, an audience of the time would have found this situation amusing, as it would have been unheard of for Marlow, a man of class to behave in such a way towards a barmaid, and also due to the fact that he is actually behaving in this cavalier manner towards a lady of his class. In this situation, one may find it very difficult to sympathise with Marlow, as although due to the use of disguise and deception, Marlow is...

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