Naturally, The Critic explores the issue of criticism, specifically the different ways that playwrights respond to critiques of their work. Sir Fretful Plagiary is the epitome of one who attempts to seem gracious and able to withstand any critical judgment of his plays; when faced with even the smallest quibble, however, his ‘‘fretful’’ nature becomes apparent. For example, Sir Fretful tells Dangle and Sneer that he is ‘‘never so well pleased as when a judicious critic points out any defect’’ in his work to him and that Sneer ‘‘can’t oblige [him] more’’ than he would by offering his opinions. However, when Sneer tells him that the ‘‘events’’ in his latest play are ‘‘too few,’’ Sir Fretful responds that the events are ‘‘too crowded’’; when told by Dangle that the play’s ‘‘interest rather falls off’’ at the end, Sir Fretful counters with, ‘‘Rises; I believe you mean, Sir.’’ When Dangle’s wife (who only defends Sir Fretful because ‘‘everybody else abuses him’’) states that she ‘‘did not see a fault in any part of the play from beginning to end,’’ Sir Fretful exclaims, ‘‘Upon my soul the women are the best judges after all!’’ Of course, ‘‘best’’ in this context means ‘‘most flattering.’’
Unlike Sir Fretful, Puff does not become upset when faced with complaints about his play, The Spanish Armada. Instead, he offers...
(The entire section is 873 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of The Critic Themes. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!