Experimentation on the English Stage, 1695-1708: The Career by Elisabeth J Heard

By Elisabeth J Heard

At the start of the eighteenth century, British theatre observed a shift from what critics now name 'Restoration' to 'sentimental' comedy. concentrating on the profession of the Irish dramatist George Farquhar (1678-1707), Heard argues that experimentation was once the foundation for this modification. Farquhar's first play, "Love and a Bottle" (1698) depended on superseded plot units and personality kinds. in contrast, his ultimate performs, "The Recruiting Officer" (1706) and "The Beaux Stratagem" (1707) used artistic new components to connect to English audiences. Over ten years, Farquhar and his contemporaries experimented with characters, plot strains, and discussion in an try to woo their audiences. In doing in order that they initiated a brand new period in British comedy.

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Sir Harry is overtly concerned with appearances (‘I can dance, sing, ride, fence, understand the languages’),13 loves to woo women (he splits his affections between Lurewell and Angelica), and would rather talk than fight (he refuses to duel Standard for Lurewell’s affections). However, instead of laughing at him or even hating him for his exaggerations and endless chatter, we find ourselves liking him, rooting for him and even pitying him. In Sir Harry, Farquhar has created a character who is more complex than his predecessors, and because of that we enjoy his escapades and possibly see a bit of ourselves in him.

Valentine. But I can accuse you of Uncertainty, for not telling me whether you did or no. Angelica. 29 Angelica is interesting because she is unpredictable. She says things that we do not expect a heroine to say. Congreve’s depiction of characters like Angelica and popularity of Love for Love would have influenced Farquhar as he sat down to create personalities like Sir Harry Wildair. New types of characters were also created by Cibber in Love’s Last Shift (1696). Once again, Farquhar would have been familiar with this popular comedy and would have seen that Cibber was experimenting with situations and developing different characters in his play.

In his first entrance in the play, he gives Parley a letter to give to Lurewell (which she delivers to Standard instead) that reveals his desire to meet with her. i (his second appearance onstage) Clincher gets drunk because he is upset over the news of the King of Spain’s death. ii, he enters Lurewell’s chamber drunk. Standard thinks that he is there to seduce Lurewell, but Sir Harry tells Standard that Clincher was out drinking with him (thus convincing him that Clincher is innocent of any inappropriate behaviour) and the drunken man is whisked off stage, never to return again.

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