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The major character of She Stoops to Conquer is Marlow. Marlow is the son of Sir Charles Marlow, an old friend of Mr. Hardcastle, who has recommended Marlow as a suitable husband for Hardcastle's daughter Kate. Hardcastle has never met Marlow but has heard from Sir Charles that Marlow is a scholar, brave, handsome, young, generous and painfully reserved and stand-offish. Kate has her reservations about a suitor who is neither warm nor affectionate but his good looks seem to eas the difficulty if only he can be persuaded into affection by being proud of his bride.
Through Shakespearean-style misinformation, Marlow and his traveling companion and friend, Hastings, are sent to Hardcastle's home--where, you will recall he is expected as a suitor--as though to a country inn because, so they are mischievously informed by a rudely jesting Lumpkin at the tavern, Hardcastle's home is very far off still. Once there, Marlow proceeds under the impression that he is a guest in a country inn and that his host, Hardcastle, is the inn keeper. Of course this doesn't go over very well and shows all of Marlow's less admirable traits, like rudeness and abruptness, off to great advantage, which is to his disadvantage.
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