Sir Arthur W. Pinero's play The Second Mrs. Tanqueray

1787 Words8 Pages
Sir Arthur W. Pinero's play The Second Mrs. Tanqueray

Sir Arthur W. Pinero's play The Second Mrs. Tanqueray was written in 1893 and was constructed around the conventions of the well-made play. The well-made play originated in France as the pièce bien faite, and is characterized by a detailed, practical intended organization of plotting. The logical precise construction of the well-made play is characterized by a number of conventions: the audience is quickly introduced to the characters and their relevant histories, there is a complication usually a withheld secret, known to the audience but unknown to the characters, which, when revealed at the climax, is an unreal coincidence and it reverses the fortunes of the play's hero. The hero's fortune fluctuates during this conflict with the antagonist until finally, at the climax, the plot unravels, quickly, the secret is revealed in the final dénouement, or resolution. The Second Mrs. Tanqueray is an effective well-made play because of its structure and the way it impacts the audience in the end. As the elements of the well-made play entail, we are introduced to all of the characters and have an understanding of their history and the troubles that their history can cause. More precisely this is a story of a very non-conventional woman of this audience's time and by going through the play I will identify its key representations of the well-made play.

Aubery Tanqueray, a self-made man, is a Widower at the age of Forty two with a beautiful teenage daughter, Ellean whom he seems very protective over. His deceased wife, the first Mrs. Tanqueray was "an iceberg," stiff, and assertive, alive as well as dead (13). She had ironically died of a fever "the only warmth, I believe, that ever came to that woman's body" (14). Now alone because his daughter is away at a nunnery he's found someone that can add a little life to his elite, high class existence; a little someone, we learn, that has a past that doesn't quite fit in with the rest of his friends.

The problems begin in Act One, the exposition, on the night before Aubery's wedding to an unknown individual. Aubery has drinks and dinner with his three closest friends, Cayley Drummel a bachelor, Doctor Gordon Jayne, and Frank Misquith, Q.C., M.P. His conversation seems to be that of a farewell, "We'll end a pleasant chapter here tonight, and after tonight start afresh.

More about Sir Arthur W. Pinero's play The Second Mrs. Tanqueray

Open Document