Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Hardcastle Mansion

Hardcastle Mansion. This village dwelling is a substantially built house, which nevertheless must have been timbered and devoid of the familiar medieval stone turrets and towers that marked the castles of the nobility and the upper class. The mansion can be easily mistaken for a country inn. This mistaken identity of place represents the major theme of the play. The Englishman, especially the male, is a modern person for whom identity is always a question; a satisfactory resolution of identity depends on a wise marriage of the old and the new, in which both the man and the woman are strong characters. The complex nature of the house in the play symbolizes this theme.

Three Pigeons Inn

Three Pigeons Inn. Tavern whose taproom is the location where the plot of mistaken identity is planned by Tony Lumpkin, who is even more innovative in his notions of identity than the marrying couple of the play. Drinking and the carefree life of the tavern may represent future social change for Goldsmith, or at least his mockery of it in the play.

Feather-bed Lane

Feather-bed Lane. Bumpy road on which the wild roundabout ride in the final act of the play begins only to end in the pond. The comic chase represents again how revolutionary Goldsmith is with his suggestions of a changing British society, in which town and country values are tossed together.

Historical Context

(Drama for Students)

The late 18th century marked a period of great transition for England. Between 1640 and 1688, the nation fought a civil war, executed its...

(The entire section is 727 words.)

Literary Style

(Drama for Students)

Age of Sensibility
Many works written between 1750 and 1798 emphasized emotion and pathos, instead of drama and humor. The...

(The entire section is 435 words.)

Compare and Contrast

(Drama for Students)

1700s: During the 18th century, entirely arranged marriages were rare, but a young women rarely had the right to select a husband...

(The entire section is 274 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Drama for Students)

Today, we take it for granted that people marry for love. This was not always the case, however. During the 18th century, for example,...

(The entire section is 618 words.)

Media Adaptations

(Drama for Students)

She Stoops to Conquer was adapted for film by Paul H. Cromelm in 1914.

It was also adapted into a one-act play in...

(The entire section is 42 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Drama for Students)

Students who enjoy reading Shakespeare might want to consider two of his plays which treat themes similar to those in Goldsmith's play, in...

(The entire section is 445 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Drama for Students)

Bevis, Richard. "Oliver Goldsmith" in Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 89: Restoration and Eighteenth-Century...

(The entire section is 195 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Dixon, Peter. Oliver Goldsmith Revisited. Boston: Twayne, 1991. Solid introduction to Goldsmith’s work in general and She Stoops to Conquer in particular. Details the biographical episode that inspired Goldsmith to write the comedy and ties the play to Goldsmith’s theories on dramatic writing.

Quintana, Ricardo. Oliver Goldsmith: A Georgian Study. New York: Macmillan, 1967. Enthusiastic and graceful study of Goldsmith’s work. Places less emphasis on the drama itself and more on the circumstances surrounding the play’s production and theatrical success.

Sells, A. Lytton. Oliver Goldsmith: His Life and Works. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1974. Examines Goldsmith’s life and offers a chapter on his writing the play and the problems he faced presenting it on the London stage. Offers two chapters on Goldsmith the dramatist and critically scrutinizes She Stoops to Conquer.

Swarbrick, Andrew, ed. The Art of Oliver Goldsmith. London: Vision Press, 1984. Ten essays touching on all aspects of Goldsmith’s writings. Contains Bernard Harris’ engaging “Goldsmith in the Theatre,” examining Goldsmith’s dramatic career, theater philosophy, and difficulties in staging She Stoops to Conquer.

Worth, Katharine. Sheridan and Goldsmith. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992. Intelligent investigation of the playwriting careers of Oliver Goldsmith and Richard Brinsley Sheridan, with special attention given to Goldsmith’s intense dislike of the prevailing sentimental comedy. Long chapter on She Stoops to Conquer is an excellent discussion of the boisterous play.