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The gossips in the play symbolize the lack of honor and morality that exists in their society. None of the gossips considers what effect their spreading of rumors will have, and it doesn't take much for them to embellish any rumor that will make it more interesting. They slander others to entertain themselves, and this indicates the lesson Sheridan teaches to the audience. The gossips aren't interested in the truth, for the truth is boring; they only want the excitement of making things up or exaggerating them.
Sheridan's play can certainly be applied to today's society. Consider the sensationalist newspapers like "The National Enquirer" which makes its living on spreading rumors about anyone or anything that will sell their newspapers. Some celebrities have sued such papers and usually win because the reporters for them stalk the stars to get pictures and then make up stories to go with the pictures. Does our society have the same social disease? I think so, or these newspapers would not be in business if people in our society didn't buy them. The truth is boring, but seeing a famous person fall is entertaining.
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