The Rivals Analysis

Places Discussed (Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Bath

Bath. Resort town in western England; it and its surrounding area would have been as familiar to London theater audiences as similar well-known resort areas would be to modern readers, and Sheridan capitalizes on well-known facts of the leisure lifestyles of the fashionable in Bath. For example, it was well known that dueling was forbidden in the city yet there were convenient places outside the city where duels were common. Sheridan refers to familiar places in the city such as the North Promenade and the New Rooms. Especially does he laugh at the well-known fashion of circulating libraries in the town. So, in order to do the play justice, audiences must see the world of the play as that of fashionable, leisure society removed for the summer to Bath.

North Parade

North Parade. Fashionable promenade in Bath that is a place of leisurely walks and fashionable encounters between lovers.

King’s-Mead-Fields

King’s-Mead-Fields. Location of the duel, a place well known for its duels outside the town walls on the Avon River.

The Rivals Historical Context

High Georgian Theater
Theater in Sheridan’s time appealed to everyone who could afford to attend. Prices ranged from one to...

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The Rivals Literary Style

The Comedy of Manners
The Comedy of Manners hails from the Restoration period (1660–1700), but was revived a hundred years...

(The entire section is 372 words.)

The Rivals Compare and Contrast

Eighteenth Century: A small group of women intellectuals, nicknamed ‘‘bluestockings,’’ claims to be the equal of male...

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The Rivals Topics for Further Study

Read one of the sentimental novels of the eighteenth century, such as Laurence Sterne’s Sentimental Journal through France and...

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The Rivals Media Adaptations

In 1961, The Rivals was transformed into a musical with words by Bruce Geller and music by Jacques Urbont. The show starred a then new...

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The Rivals What Do I Read Next?

In Samuel Richardson’s 1740–1741 Pamela, Or Virtue Rewarded, a young servant girl fights to repulse the advances of her...

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The Rivals Bibliography and Further Reading

SOURCES
Auburn, Mark S., Sheridan’s Comedies: Their Contexts and Achievements, University of Nebraska Press, 1977, pp....

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The Rivals Bibliography (Great Characters in Literature)

Auburn, Mark. Sheridan’s Comedies: Their Contexts and Achievements. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1977. Treats Sheridan’s comedies as exemplary manifestations of the comic aesthetic. Discusses The Rivals as a practical play, designed to appeal to a specific audience, and attempting no innovations or departures from popular stage practice.

Mikhail, E. H. Sheridan: Interviews and Recollections. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989. A biography composed of excerpts from the writings of those who knew Sheridan. Includes contemporary accounts of The Rivals, opinions on the play from Sheridan’s friends,...

(The entire section is 280 words.)