The Rivals Character Study

Topics: Love, Baronet, Romance Pages: 4 (1059 words) Published: April 15, 2013
Mrs Malaprop 

Mrs. Malaprop is Lydia’s aunt and legal owner of her fortune, until Lydia becomes of age. She is strictly opposed to Lydia’s frivolous behaviour and often scoffs at her desire for romance and love. Mrs. Malaprop conflicts with Jack’s father in scoffing at love and romance rather than encouraging it. She is a gossiping and melodramatic character, often taking things way out of proportion and putting her own spin on them. Having almost no life of her own to be occupied with, Mrs Malaprop continues to live her life entangled and constantly interfering in her niece’s, leading her to be described as ‘the old harridan.’  

Through Mrs Malaprop, Sheridan explores the philosopher John Locke's conviction that language is not simply an imitation of objects in the external world but a reflection of the mind that produces it. She destroys the assumption that we can rely on the accuracy of the human mind. Sheridan reminds us that we have to be constantly vigilant, as there is a tendency in all of us to mistake meanings.  

She appears to be a champion of women’s education, though she does admit that she would not want a daughter of hers to be ‘a progeny of learning.’

A frivolous young woman infatuated with romance novellas and high society fashion, Lydia is one of the original so-called Valley Girls. She is highly sentimental, often lamenting over the sadness of life and the romantic thrills that she gets from her young courters. In fact, she makes an effort to mimic the lines and mannerisms in the romantic stories that she reads. Even though she is a very silly and flighty character, Lydia is also stubborn and enduring, causing much tension between her and her guardian. Though she is the heiress of a large sum of money, she seems all too willing to throw it all away to pursue her love of adventure and romance. 

‘She has a lap-dog that eats out of gold’- This is an exaggeration of Fag’s, but she is fabulously wealthy and therefore a...
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