Richard Brinsley Sheridan's School for Scandal is a play that results entirely from, well, scandal. For a period of time in the eighteenth century, rumor became a huge part of high society. Everyone wanted to know what everyone else was doing, even if they weren't actually doing it. Newspapers became a huge vessel of this scandalmongering, but in Sheridan's play, we see the spread of scandal—and its consequences—on a much more individualized basis.
There are a lot of characters, but the three that are the most important to distinguish (and try to keep straight) are Joseph Surface, Charles Surface, and Maria.
Joseph is considered by most to be the more virtuous of the Surface brothers. He desires Maria's hand in marriage, and just about everyone agrees that this is a smart match—everyone except for Maria, that is. Maria wants to be with Charles, but Charles is a party boy, and since Maria is the ward of a man named Sir Peter, she basically needs Sir Peter's permission, which he won't...
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