What does the following quotation mean from She Stoops to Conquer? ''Pardon me madam. I was willing to be amused. The folly of most people is rather an object of mirth than uneasiness.'' Marlow to...

What does the following quotation mean from She Stoops to Conquer?

''Pardon me madam. I was willing to be amused. The folly of most people is rather an object of mirth than uneasiness.'' Marlow to Kate. (Act 2)

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This quote demonstrates that Marlow is witty and capable of having fun.

Marlow finds it difficult to talk to ladies, although he can flirt with barmaids.

Hastings has told Marlow that they are at an inn, and not a gentleman’s house.  Hastings introduces Marlow to Kate, and Marlow is shy. 

HASTINGS. (To him.) Bravo, bravo. Never spoke so well in your whole life. Well, Miss Hardcastle, I see that you and Mr. Marlow are going to be very good company. I believe our being here will but embarrass the interview. (Act 2)

Kate describes Marlow as “sober,” but she also feels that he has potential if he were not so shy.  Kate is interested in Marlow from the beginning, but she finds him annoying because he is so formal and reserved.  She feels like if he can come out of his shell she can enjoy him more.  This witty phrase, couched in formality, is an example of the potential Marlow has.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Marlow says this during his first meeting with Kate. As she is dressed well and a lady of means, he feels bashful and cannot speak with her freely during their first meeting. She nonetheless tries to get to know him better. When he says that he is mainly an observer in life (a role that mirrors that of the playwright, Goldsmith), Kate replies that he must have had more to disapprove of than to approve of in his travels. In the quote in the question, he responds that he finds people's mistakes and foibles funny. Rather than getting upset at people's bad decisions and weaknesses (the meaning of the word "folly"), he laughs at them and finds them entertaining. Shortly after this remark, Marlow relapses into feeling shy around Kate. 

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She Stoops to Conquer

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