What is the view of Goldsmith concerning the marriage between Marlow and Kate in She Stoops to Conquer?
Goldsmith uses the relationship between Marlow and Kate as his main comic device in this play which amuses just as much now as it did when it was first performed. However, it is important to remember that behind comedies lie very important themes and messages, and this is just as true for this comedy as it is for any other. Goldsmith wrote this play in part to comment on the disparity between appearances and reality, and deception and truth. So many of the characters deliberately present themselves as being not what they are, and it is highly ironic that Kate has to become what she is not in order to find out who Marlow, her future husband really is. But the process of actually discovering the truth about Marlow seems to indicate that they are well-suited for marriage, as Kate has seen Marlow both at his best, when he was concerned about social propriety, and at his worst, when he tried to accost her in her disguise as a servingwoman. This gives her a real and genuine understanding of his character that can only benefit them in terms of a future marriage. Perhaps Goldsmith's view on their marriage can be discerned from the final words of her father, Mr. Hastings, in the play as he speaks to his daughter:
Come, madam, you are driven to the very last scene of all your contrivances. I know you like him, I'm sure he loves you, and you must and shall have him.
This could be considered Goldsmith's blessing on the impending marriage between Kate and Marlow as Kate has won for herself a husband who genuinely loves her and is willing to sacrifice his name and station in order to have her. By the end of the play, the forces of reality are shown to triumph, and this indicates Goldsmith's approval of their relationship.