Topics for Further Study

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  • Sheridan is a male writer who writes about marriage and women in School for Scandal. Research the role of women in London society. Do you think that Sheridan accurately portrays women? Is the marriage depicted in this play an accurate reflection of marriage in the late eighteenth century?
  • Sheridan's biography indicates that he made a lot of money from writing plays. Investigate play-writing and other theatre work as money-making ventures. How successful financially was acting? Or the writing of plays? Or owning a theatre?
  • School for Scandal focuses on gossip and slander as a social disease. How serious a problem was slander in London society? In your research, did you find that Sheridan was using slander as a symptom of a more serious social issue?
  • The eighteenth century was a period during which the line between poverty and wealth became even more pronounced in England. Because of enclosure laws, more people, who had formerly made an adequate living in the country, were forced to move to London to look for employment. At the same time, gin bars proliferated, and public drunkenness became a serious problem. High unemployment and public drunkenness combined to created some serious issues in London. Research the effects of these two events. What new issues were created?
  • Sheridan was one of the last play wnghts to write a "comedy of manners." This genre of comedy became very popular after the Restoration but was waning when Sheridan began to write. Explore this genre and discuss the conventions that define a comedy of manners.

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