tMonica Schulz The Rivals 1775 Important events of this time… During this time, the American Revolution begins and the first battle started on April the 19th. This was the battle of Lexington and Concord a day after the famous ride of Paul Revere. The American government was beginning to form with George Washington being appointed the commander-in-chief. The American colonies were declared to be in rebellion from England at this time. As for the music of this time, Mozart finishes his Sonata in C.
But the main focus of this essay will be the Publication of the play “The Rivals” by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Richard Brinsley Sheridan is born in Dublin on October 30th 1751. This means that Sheridan was the young age of twenty-four when he wrote this play! This is an amazing accomplishment for such a young man. Sheridan began his professional life as an elocution teacher in Bath after he completed six years of school at Harrow school.
He moved to Bath with his father and began his teaching career. In 1772, a few years before he wrote “The Rivals”, Sheridan elopes with a young lady by the name of Elizabeth Linley. This marriage was not accepted by Elizabeth Linley’s father and so it was hidden… for a little while.
Her father challenges Sheridan to a brawl. This is symbolized in his famous play that he writes only a few years later. In this fight, Sheridan was seriously wounded. After all of this, Richard Brinsley Sheridan qualified as a lawyer and therefore, Mr. Linley approved of the couple’s relationship and they once again married. After this, Sheridan began writing plays; beginning with his famous comedy “The Rivals”. This play was not accepted by the public at all but after a revision, it became one of the most popular comedies in Britain. Two of Sheridan’s other successful plays were “St.
Patrick’s Day” and “The Duenna”. In 1776, him and his father-in-law purchased Drury Lane theater where Sheridan produced his most popular comedy “The School for Scandal”. Unfortunately, Sheridan passed away as a poor man on July 7th 1816 at the age of 65. Although he has passed, his legacy will never die. The Rivals The Characters Sir Anthony Absolute: He has a son named Jack Absolute. This character is described as “hasty in everything”. Anthony Absolute is very demanding of his son Jack and if Jack refused or disobeyed, Sir Anthony Absolute would “knock him down” so that he felt lesser than his father.
He agrees to give his income to his son on one condition… Jack Absolute must marry whom Anthony Absolute commands him to marry. This woman that Anthony Absolute wants his son to marry is not the best looking lady… Captain Jack Absolute: This character is a very romantic young fellow who is a ranking officer in the King’s Royal army. Although his is classified as a gentleman, he is a man of mischief. He disguises himself as Beverly Ensign, to romantically pursue Lydia. In some ways, Jack is a lot like his father in that he has a dualistic personality but he makes himself look like a fool.
Lydia: This character is a wealthy heiress who is Jack’s lover. She is a hopeless romantic who is obsessed with romance novellas. She tries to live out the life of the novellas, often lamenting over the sadness of life. Lydia is extremely stubborn and doesn’t want to marry who everyone else thinks that she should marry. She loves Beverly Ensign who in reality is Jack Absolute. The only way that she will inherit her rich Aunt’s fortune, she must marry who her aunt wants her to marry but she is willing to give this all up to marry Beverly. Lydia is looking for adventure and this is the reason she is infatuated with Beverly. Mrs.
Malaprop: Mrs. Malaprop is Lydia’s legal guardian. She is a very rich and proper woman. She wants to give Lydia her fortune when she becomes of age but only if she marries the man of her choice. This character is not a fan of Lydia’s rebellious behavior and scoffs at her decision to pursue Beverly Ensign. She often takes things way out of proportion and tends to use words in her own, made up way. These words do not make sense but it creates a sense of humor for the play. Minor Characters Julia: She is the lover of Faulkland. This character is considered the only reasonable character of the play and she is considered the “voice of logic”.
Lucy: She is Lydia’s maid. This character is very sneaky and conniving; the backstabber of the play. Sir Lucius: This character was a courter of many women and an antagonist in the play. Faulkland: He is a friend of Jack’s and a lover of Julia. Fag: This character is Jack’s servant. He is also a liar and is very conniving. David: Bob’s servant. Bob Acres: He is also a friend of Jack’s. He is portrayed as a pretender and a fool. Plot Summary The main character, Mrs. Malaprop wants her niece, Lydia to stop trying to pursue the “less-than-worthy” Beverly Ensign who is really Captain Jack Absolute in disguise.
Mrs. Malaprop has a plan to give her wealth to her niece but only if she marries who she wants her to marry. In the beginning of the play, Captain Absolute comes to Bath to court Lydia. To intrigue Lydia’s romantic personality, he disguises himself as a penniless man by the name of Beverly Ensign. Lucy, the maid has been delivering notes to Lydia from Beverly. Mrs. Malaprop intercepts a note that is supposed to be delivered to Lydia and she is infuriated by this! This prevents Lydia and Beverly from resolving a petty quarrel and this leads her to believe she has lost him. Mrs.
Malaprop is also deceiving. She goes by the name of Delia who the character Lucius is trying to court. Lucy, the back-stabbing maid tells Lucius O’Trigger that Lydia is “Delia”. Mrs. Malaprop wants Lydia to marry Captain Absolute but Lydia refuses to marry him, not knowing that Captain Jack Absolute is actually her lover Beverly Ensign. Sir Anthony Absolute commands his son to marry Lydia but Sir Anthony Absolute refuses to tell him the name of the woman he wants him to marry so the Captain refuses. Fag learns from Lucy that Sir Anthony’s choice was Lydia and tells Captain Jack.
Later, Mrs. Malaprop finds out that “Beverly” has a scheme to see Lydia. She reads the letter to Captain Absolute and he suggests that he let Beverly come to see Lydia and when the moment is right, he will sweep up Lydia himself. Mrs. Malaprop agrees to this plan and summons Lydia. In this moment, “Beverly” tells Lydia that he has disguised himself as Captain Absolute but Lydia still tells her aunt that she will only be wed to Beverly. Bob Acres challenges “Beverly” to a dual and asks Captain Absolute to deliver the note of proposal of the dual to Beverly Ensign.
When Anthony Absolute comes into the picture again, he refers to “Beverly” as Captain Absolute and Lydia finds out that this has all been a hoax. Lydia is extremely upset and leaves but Mrs. Malaprop agrees to forgive all! The dual never ends up happening and finally, Lucius finds out that Lydia is not “Delia” when he addresses Lydia as Delia. He finds out that Mrs. Malaprop is actually “Delia” and he is upset about this. Lydia eventually forgives that Captain and at the end of the play, everyone is invited to a party by Bob Acres. Comedy of Manners “The Rivals” is a play of comedy of manners.
This genre was established in England during the restoration period of history. The settings for these plays are normally set in the world of upper class. Comedy of manners ridicules those who consider themselves to be socially superior. It focuses on the mores and standards of society and also explores the relationships of the sexes, marriage being a frequent subject of these plays. Sheridan was one of the most famous figures of this genre. Comedy of manners is also present in today’s comedy in certain movies as well as sitcoms on television. Citations Comedy of Manners: INTRODUCTION. ” eNotes. eNotes. com Inc. , n. d. Web. <http://www. enotes. com/comedy-manners-essays/comedy-manners>. “The Rivals. ” theaterhistory. com. theaterhistory. com Inc. , n. d. Web. <http://www. theatrehistory. com/irish/rivals. html>. McMillan, Peter, ed. “Richard Brinsley Sheridan. “Spartacus Educational. Spartacus Educational Publisher LTD. Web. <http://www. spartacus. schoolnet. co. uk/PRsheridan. htm>. “Events for Year 1775. ” History Orb. HistoryOrb. com, n. d. Web. <http://www. historyorb. com/events/date/1775>.
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