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.