Oliver Goldsmith Drama Analysis - Essay

Oliver Goldsmith Drama Analysis

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

The Good-Natured Man and She Stoops to Conquer were written to spite the prevailing taste in comedy. In an essay written just after he completed the second play, Oliver Goldsmith explained that the comedy of his time, which he called sentimental comedy, was a degeneration of a genre that had been clearly defined since the days of Aristotle. Comedy, Goldsmith lamented, had become a kind of tragedy that sought to influence the audience by appealing to its sympathy.

Sentimental comedy was a dramatic subgenre that developed at the beginning of the eighteenth century. The Restoration comedy of manners, which had delighted audiences with contrasting manners, sharp wordplay, and sexual innuendo, had been...

(The entire section is 3995 words.)