She Stoops to Conquer- Male Characters

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‘Through a close analysis of the presentation of at least two of the plays male characters, show how Goldsmith presents attitudes towards women in the play’

Oliver Goldsmith has cleverly composed an exceptionally successful comedic play, belonging to the Pastoral Genre, comprising of many key themes and ideas including that of the attitudes of males toward females, the social divide between the lower and upper class and the idea of progress and tradition. Through the numerous linguistic and dramatic devices including dramatic incitement and comedic language, Goldsmith is able to portray the attitudes displayed by the male characters such as Mr Hardcastle, Charles Marlow and George Hastings towards women within the play.

Firstly, the fictitious Mr Hardcastle shows varying attitudes towards women in the play. We initially see a very traditional and prude attitude towards his daughter, Kate Hardcastle. Goldsmith implies that Mr Hardcastle has a very traditional, typically pastoral view towards women in the sense that they should be the pinnacle of youth and beauty, but also very pure and simple, all attributes which relate back to the pastoral. This is shown when Mr Hardcastle encourages Kate to dress in what he believes to be appropriate- ‘Blessings on my pretty innocence! Drest out as usual, my Kate. Goodness! What quantity of superfluous silk has thou got about thee, girl!’ In this sense, we see Mr Hardcastle appear very traditional and extremely authoritative over Kate, suggesting a strict attitude. Mr Hardcastle appears to believe that his orders should be followed by the women, as he has power over them once again implying that women are innocent, pure and a reflection of Eve, revealing key elements to the pastoral. Although within the Exposition stage of the play, we see Kate abide by her fathers wishes- ‘in the evening, I put on my house-wife’s dress to please you’, Mr Hardcastle displays an alternative attitude over women, implying he is very...
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