Analyze the following quotation from She Stoops to Conquer:
(Aside): By heaven, she weeps. This is the first mark of tenderness I ever had from a modest woman, and it touches me. (To her) Excuse me, my lovely girl, you are the only part of the family I leave with reluctance. But to be plain with you, the difference of our birth, fortune and education, make an honourable connexion impossible; and I can never harbour a thought of seducing simplicity that trusted in my honour, or bringing ruin upon one whose only fault was being too lovely.
1 Answer | Add Yours
The quote in this question comes from Act IV and is said by Marlow to Kate, Miss Hardcastle, but when she is in her disguise as a serving woman. The scene is important because it is when Marlow realises he has not been staying in an inn, like Tony told him at the beginning of the play, and that Kate is not actually pretending to be a barmaid, but is actually, according to her, just a "poor relation appointed to keep the keys, and to see that the guets want nothing in my power to give them." Marlow thus realises how he has been deceived, but as a result, he sees how terribly he has acted towards the father of the woman he came thinking to marry, and feels he has to leave straight away. It is only when Kate feigns tears that he stops and begins to think that he begins to see Kate not as a woman to be seduced and overpowered, but a human in her own right, worthy of respect and consideration. Note how Kate replies to him after this quote is uttered:
(Aside) Generous man! I now begin to admire him.
This quote is therefore important because it signals a change in the relationship between Kate and Marlow, and in particular the way in which Marlow is seen by Kate. Kate's strategy of pretending to be a servingmaid in order to explore Marlow's character and get to know him in a different way, without the formalities that accompany two people of their position and prevent true familiarity, is proving itself to be successful. Marlow shows himself to be a young man who is more sensitive and caring than he first appeared, and a worthy potential husband for Kate.
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes