Is "She Stoops to Conquer" a comedy or a farce?

Expert Answers
Lynn Ramsson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A farce is a type of comedy, so She Stoops to Conquer, with all of its exaggerated mistakes and silly confusions, meets the definition of both. A theatrical comedy, at its most basic level, is meant to entertain an audience with humor, while a farce uses humor at its most obvious and exaggerated level to shine an even brighter light on the humorous words and actions that drive the play.

Examples of farcical humor within this play take place when characters make ridiculous mistakes, like when Hastings and Marlow see the Hardcastle home and believe it to be so fine that it must be a country inn. Farcical humor also depends on the manner in which the actors present their characters to the audience; for example, a somewhat silly character, like the appropriately named Lumpkin, must not only say his silly lines in a funny style—he must also over-act to draw attention to the nature of the comedy as a farce.

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

She Stoops to Conquer is both farcical and an example of a "comedy of manners." Farce is defined as "boisterous comedy involving ludicrous action and dialogue which is intended to excite laughter through exaggeration and extravagance rather than by a realistic imitation of life." A comedy of manners pokes fun at "the manners and conventions of aristocratic, sophisticated society."