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Last Updated on January 1, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 383

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The Conscious Lovers is a comedy written by Irish playwright Richard Steele and first performed in 1722 at the Theatre Royal in London, England. It is considered a core example of sentimental comedy, which is a Restoration-era form of drama that focuses on everyday life under the premise that man is inherently good but is prone to mistakes and being led into confusion.

Steele's work strays away from the "lewdness" of other comedies performed during this time period; he had a distinct focus on incorporating social morality and values into humor. The characters in The Conscious Lovers reflect this: they are upper class and, at times, struggle to navigate the social rules governing their place in society, particularly with respect to marriage and love. After a humorous series of events in which a long-lost daughter is discovered and unhappy engagements are broken off, the characters's problems are ultimately resolved, and they gain an understanding of their prejudices and moral shortcomings.

The character list is as follows:


Sir John Bevil: a wealthy man and father to Bevil Jr.

Bevil Jr: Sir John's son; engaged to marry Lucinda Sealand despite being in love with Indiana, a poor girl he met in France

Mr. Sealand: another wealthy man. Sealand is Lucinda's father and strongly in favor of her marriage to Bevil Jr. He is secretly Indiana's father and Isabella's brother (although he does not realize it until Scene III).

Mr. Myrtle: friend of Bevil Jr. and in love with Lucinda.

Mr. Cimberton: a rich dandy with poor manners; favored by Mrs. Sealand for her daughter Lucinda because of his wealth.

Tom: servant to Bevil Jr.; helps prevent the engagement between Cimberton and Lucinda.

Sir Geoffrey: Mr. Cimberton's uncle; must give his consent for Cimberton to marry.

Humphrey: Sir John's servant.


Mrs. Sealand: Mr. Sealand's second wife and Lucinda's mother; she wants Lucinda to marry Mr. Cimberton, another wealthy man in their social circle.

Lucinda Sealand: engaged to Bevil Jr. but in love with Mr. Mrytle, Bevil Jr.'s friend.

Isabella: Mr. Sealand's sister and aunt to Indiana and Lucinda; has been a mother-figure to Indiana.

Indiana: raised by Isabella as a poor orphan, she is actually Mr. Sealand's daughter from his first wife; in love with Bevil Jr.

Phillis: Lucinda's maid; in love with Tom.

Characters Discussed

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 328

Young Bevil

Young Bevil, a gentleman of means who is in love with one girl but engaged to another, who in turn loves another man. After many complications of plot, the lovers are properly paired off.

Lucinda Sealand

Lucinda Sealand, who is engaged to young Bevil, who has sent her a letter permitting her to break the engagement. Her thankful letter of reply raises a misunderstanding and almost results in a duel between young Bevil and his friend Mr. Myrtle, whom Lucinda plans to marry.

Indiana Danvers

Indiana Danvers, a girl whom young Bevil has befriended and whom he wishes to marry. She is the daughter of a British merchant who disappeared in the Indies some time before.

Mr. Sealand

Mr. Sealand, Lucinda’s father. Learning that young Bevil is paying Indiana’s bills, he wrongly suspects that she is his mistress. Going to investigate before breaking off Lucinda’s engagement to Bevil, he finds that Indiana is his long-lost daughter and he agrees to her marriage with Bevil.

Mr. Myrtle

Mr. Myrtle, young Bevil’s friend, who is in love with Lucinda. Hoping to frustrate Mrs. Sealand’s plan to marry Lucinda to Mr. Cimberton, Myrtle goes in disguise to the Sealand house. Finally, when all is cleared up, he reveals his identity and claims his bride.

Sir John Bevil

Sir John Bevil, young Bevil’s father, at whose request young Bevil is engaged to Lucinda. Later, after discovering that Indiana is Mr. Sealand’s daughter, he is pleased that she will marry his son.

Mrs. Sealand

Mrs. Sealand, Lucinda’s mother, a foolish woman who is eager to marry Lucinda to a rich man.

Mr. Cimberton

Mr. Cimberton, a peculiar and wealthy suitor for Lucinda’s hand, favored by Mrs. Sealand. He looks over Lucinda as if he were buying a prize mare. Learning that Lucinda will have only half her father’s fortune, he leaves in a huff.


Tom, young Bevil’s artful servant.