How does malice work its own undoing in School for Scandal?

mstokes | Student

Initially honour seems to be in short supply in School for Scandal: The gossips are completely without honour; Lady Sneerwell makes fun of such marriage and this is why she constructs the plot, a conspiracy dealing with how to arouse suspicion in the mind of Sir Peter to separate him from his wife Lady Teazle.

Each of the characters wrestles with morality against the background of a society constructed around flawed premises. Lady Teazle is considering abandoning the lessons about honour that she learned growing up in the country; Joseph is ready to betray his brother to secure a wealthy wife; and Charles is hopelessly in debt to moneylenders. Even Sir Oliver, whose honour should be above question, is ready to assume a disguise to test his nephews' honour.

By the conclusion of the play, however, it is clear that only the gossips and those who are malicious have no true honour. Lady Teazle realizes that she values her husband and that she has more honour than her friends had supposed. Those who have been malicious are totally overcome,

Sheridan’s School for Scandal is considered to be his masterpiece. It consists of a series of gossipy and fast-paced scenes that exposes contemporary foibles through the actions of the characters. It is an attack on artificiality of human behavior and sentiments.