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Literary Analysis: Social Class in She Stoops to Conquer, by Oliver Goldsmith

  • Date Submitted: 05/29/2013 11:30 PM
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Literary analysis: social class in She Stoops to Conquer, by Oliver Goldsmith

 

Title: "It is not so much the difference between classes which is explored, but rather the extremely different ways in which certain characters treat people according to which class they belong to is explore." With this in mind, consider Goldsmith's treatment of social class in She stoops to Conquer.

Set in the Restoration period in the 17th and 18th century England, Oliver Goldsmith employs much wit, craft and style in She stoops to Conquer, in which one mistake feeds on another, and ultimately accumulating in a play of farce. It shows to a great extent that social snobbery or double standards in treatment which is portrayed in the novel, is only shown by certain characters. She stoops to Conquer is after all, a novel of sentimental comedy and also a comedy of manners, which features treatment of social class as one of the main themes. However, not all of the characters play a part in the discrimination or standards of social class.

The two characters, Mrs Hardcastle and Mr Marlow can be seen as avid participants of social class and are the most class-conscious in the entire novel as compared to the other characters. Other characters can be excluded from this allegation because their intentions and even their behaviour is not based on social class aims or even social snobbery.

Goldsmith's treatment of social class in She Stoops to Conquer is not the typical exploration of social snobbery or a explicit discrimination or mistreatment of the lower class by the upper class. Goldsmith merely plays on the difference in treatment or rather the double standards when it comes to treating people of lower status. However, Goldsmith does shows that it is the perfect norm for people of the upper class to treat the lower class in a certain way and it is also being accepted by the lower class themselves. This is shown from the way Marlow and Hastings talk about the barmaids that...

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