Illustration of Kate Hardcastle in high society attire on the left, and dressed as a barmaid on the right

She Stoops to Conquer

by Oliver Goldsmith
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In She Stoops to Conquer, what is Hardcastle's opinion of Tony?

Hardcastle's opinion of Tony is that he is a spoiled-brat, a drunkard, and an embarrassment who would never act seriously in the presence of others.

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In the first act of She Stoops to Conquerby Oliver Goldsmith , we find an older, seemingly loving couple that, at first sight, seem to live in comfort. Soon, we find out that the husband and wife could not be more different from one another. Mr. Hardcastle is practical...

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In the first act of She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith, we find an older, seemingly loving couple that, at first sight, seem to live in comfort. Soon, we find out that the husband and wife could not be more different from one another. Mr. Hardcastle is practical to a fault. He refuses to change his house around and decorate it to keep up with its equals, much to the chagrin of Mrs. Hardcastle, who is fashionable and loves to get involved in the happenings of society.

We also learn that Mrs. Hardcastle has a son named Tony. Tony is the product of Mrs. Hardcastle's first marriage. From what we learn, Tony is bound to inherit a large amount of money. For this reason, Lady Hardcastle spends no time trying to educate or refine Tony. In her view, he is bound to become rich, which is all that matters.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hardcastle is aware of this situation and recognizes that Tony has done nothing to make himself useful in the time they have been parenting him. Mrs. Hardcastle babies him, treats him like he is a sickling, and allows him to do whatever he wants.

For this reason, when Mrs. Hardcastle asks Mr. Hardcastle why they do not do anything or go anywhere, his answer is that Tony is essentially an embarrassment and his behavior is likely to bring some shame to the household.

Mr. Hardcastle also recognizes that Tony is a drunkard with no education, no common sense, a bad sense of humor, and disturbing ways. Tony has a thing about scaring people and making silly jokes. However, his mother always makes excuses for him:

HARDCASTLE. The alehouse and the stable are the only schools he'll ever go to.

MRS. HARDCASTLE. Well, we must not snub the poor boy now, for I believe we shan't have him long among us. Anybody that looks in his face may see he's consumptive.

HARDCASTLE. Ay, if growing too fat be one of the symptoms.

MRS. HARDCASTLE. He coughs sometimes.

HARDCASTLE. Yes, when his liquor goes the wrong way.

All this said, Hardcastle clearly has a very low opinion of his stepson, Tony. He thinks he is a drunk and an undereducated, disrespectful, and disgraceful young man.

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