Analysis Of Sheridan's 'The School For Scandal'

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During the 1700s, England’s plays and literature went through a period referred to as Restoration Drama. Throughout the period, there were quite a few playwrights, such as Dryden, Sheridan, and Congreve, and a few different types of drama introduced to the audiences. Dramas included Heroic and three types of comedies, which will be explicated within the essay. It was just before the 18th century that the comedies were becoming more popular with English audiences. Famous playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan wrote his The School for Scandal at this time. The School for Scandal follows the idea of Laughing Comedy with its witty dialogue and the hypocritical characters. Sheridan was quite clever while writing this play by making it somewhat satirical…show more content…
Sheridan turns “satire of Restoration drama to gentle didacticism” (“Laughing Comedy”), which means the play was less focused on satire and more educational. Instead of Sheridan mocking the ways of the English, which he did a little, he focused more on subtly educating his audience. In 1777, Sheridan had just become the manager of Drury Lane, a production company, and realized that there was a high demand for a new play (“The School” 831), which is when he decided to craft The School for Scandal. Although the Comedy of Manners and Laughing Comedy are closely related, The School for Scandal is in fact a Laughing Comedy because of its witty dialogue. The use of witty dialogue was the true reason for its success at Drury Lane and not because of its construction of drama (“Laughing Comedy”); plus, it follows Laughing Comedy standards because “comic dialogue is staged before a range of characters, some of whom find it entertaining and others find it appalling and immoral” (Thompson…show more content…
Lady Sneerwell is a woman who tries to ruin the lives of others because her reputation was ruined in her youth; the audience can interpret this when she states, “I confess I have since known no pleasure equal to the reducing others to the level of my own injured reptutaion” (Act I, Scene I Lines 43-5), which she is saying she is not happy unless others are unhappy like her. Along with Sneerwell, the character of Snake is present. Snake is her close friend and gopher; Snake basically works for Sneerwell by finding out the gossip around town and reporting it to her. Joseph Surface, a man who is quite deceitful, is also another character with a major flaw. Other characters include Sir Benjamin Backbit, who is also a town gossip and slanderer, and Mrs. Candour, another town gossip, and Sir Peter, who is a man that appears to be gullible, and his wife Lady Teazle, who is obsessed with being fashionable. There are also a few other characters within the play that have minor flaws. However, the ones mentioned above are the major flawed characters of the

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