Please describe Marlow's personality in She Stoops to Conquer.

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The character of Marlow is a very intriguing one. The chief comedy of this play lies in the way that Marlow is full of assurance and confidence when dealing with women of the working class, but when he is presented with women of his own class, he is so shy and timid that he is almost rendered speechless. Note what Hastings says to Marlow about how he behaves when he is confronted by such women:

But in the company of women of reputation I never saw such an idiot, such a trembler; you look for all the world as if you wanted an opportunity of stealing out of the room.

This is indeed Kate's experience when she first meets Marlow, but of course great confusion is created by Marlow's very forward manner with her when she is disguised as a maid. Marlow's personality is therefore dominated by this massive difference in the way that he behaves when confronted by women of the working class and then when he relates to women of his own class. When Kate and her father compare notes on the man who Kate is to marry, the radically different impression both of them have show the kind of split personality that Marlow suffers from and which Kate manages to cure him of through her duplicity.

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She Stoops to Conquer

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