Literature In English SS 2 Third Term Lesson Notes



WEEK                  TOPIC

 1                   REVISION

 2       INTRODUCTION TO NON AFRICA DRAMA: SHE STOOD TO CONQUER BY                                                                                                        













 11      REVISION

 12      EXAMINATION.   









An allegory is a symbolism device where the meaning of a greater, often abstract, concept is conveyed with the aid of a more corporeal object or idea being used as an example. Usually a rhetoric device, an allegory suggests a meaning via metaphoric examples.


Faith is like a stony uphill climb: a single stumble might send you sprawling but belief and steadfastness will see you to the very top.




Alliteration is a literary device where words are used in quick succession and begin with letters belonging to the same sound group. Whether it is the consonant sound or a specific vowel group,

the alliteration involves creating a repetition of similar sounds in the sentence. Alliterations are also created when the words all begin with the same letter. Alliterations are used to add character to the writing and often add an element of ‘fun’ to the piece..


The Wicked Witch of the West went her own way. (The ‘W’ sound is highlighted and repeated throughout the sentence.)




An allusion is a figure of speech whereby the author refers to a subject matter such as a place, event, or literary work by way of a passing reference. It is up to the reader to make a connection to

the subject being mentioned.


It’s no wonder everyone refers to Mary as another Mother Teresa in the making; she loves to help and care after people everywhere- from the streets to her own friends. In the example the author uses the mention of Mother Teresa to indicate the sort of qualities that Mary has.




Amplification refers to a literary practice wherein the writer embellishes the sentence by adding more information to it in order to increase its worth and understandability. When a plain sentence

is too abrupt and fails to convey the full implications desired, amplification comes into play when the writer adds more to the structure to give it more meaning.


Original sentence- The thesis paper was difficult. After amplification- The thesis paper was difficult: it required extensive research, data collection, sample surveys, interviews and a lot of





Anagrams are an extremely popular form of literary device wherein the writer jumbles up parts of the word to create a new word. From the syllables of a phrase to the individual letters of a word, any fraction can be jumbled to create a new form. Anagram is a form of wordplay that allows the writer to infuse mystery and a little interactive fun in the writing so that the reader can decipher the actual word on their own and discover a depth of meaning to the writing.


An anagram for “debit card” is “bad credit”. As you can see, both phrases use the same letters. By mixing the letters a bit of humor is created.




An analogy is a literary device that helps to establish a relationship based on similarities between two concepts or ideas. By using an analogy we can convey a new idea by using the blueprint of an old one as a basis for understanding. With a mental linkage between the two, one can create understanding regarding the new concept in a simple and succinct manner.oo


In the same way as one cannot have the rainbow without the rain, one cannot achieve success and riches without hard work.




Anastrophe is a form of literary device wherein the order of the noun and the adjective in the sentence is exchanged. In standard parlance and writing the adjective comes before the noun but when one is employing an anastrophe the noun is followed by the adjective. This reversed order creates a dramatic impact and lends weight to the description offered by the adjective.


He spoke of times past and future, and dreamt of things to be.




The word anecdote, phonetically pronounced an.ik.doht, means a short verbal accounting of a funny, amusing, interesting event or incident. The story is usually a reminiscence from the teller’s life but at best is a related story of fact, as opposed to a contrived work of fiction. The origin of the word anecdote comes from the Greek Byzantine period, A.D. 527 to 565 during the reign of

emperor Justinian. In his court, Justinian had a historian named Procopius who was a gifted writer who wrote many witty, amusing and somewhat bawdy accounts of court life. Never intending for

this stories to become public he entitled his writings as “Anecdota” which was Greek for unpublished and kept secret. After his secret writings did indeed become public and published, the term anecdote became commonly used for similar accounts.


Amusing anecdotes many times find their way into wedding receptions, family reunions and any other gathering of people who know each other well. Teachers and educators often tell classrooms of pupils anecdotes about famous people. The anecdotes are not always flattering, but are usually revealing of character and invariably amusing. Here is an example of an anecdote about Winston Churchill:

Winston Churchill was very fond of his pet dog Rufus. He ate in the dining room with the family on a special cloth and was treated with utmost respect. When enjoying movies, Rufus had the best seat in the house; on Winston Churchill’s lap. While watching “Oliver Twist,” Churchill put his hands over Rufus’ eyes during the scene where Bill Sike’s intends to drown his dog. Churchill is believed to have said to Rufus: “don’t look now, dear. I’ll tell you about it later.”




Anthropomorphism can be understood to be the act of lending a human quality, emotion or ambition to a non-human object or being. This act of lending a human element to a non-human

subject is often employed in order to endear the latter to the readers or audience and increase the level of relativity between the two while also lending character to the subject.


The raging storm brought with it howling winds and fierce lightning as the residents of the village looked up at the angry skies in alarm.




An antithesis is used when the writer employs two sentences of contrasting meanings in close proximity to one another. Whether they are words or phrases of the same sentence, an antithesis is

used to create a stark contrast using two divergent elements that come together to create one uniform whole. An antithesis plays on the complementary property of opposites to create one vivid picture. The purpose of using an antithesis in literature is to create a balance between opposite qualities and lend a greater insight into the subject.


When Neil Armstrong walked on the moon it might have been one small step for a man but it was one giant leap for mankind.


EVALUATION: List out ten literary device

ASSIGNMENT: Write out ten literary device with mean and examples





One of the eighteenth- century’s most enduring comedies, She Stoops to Conquer takes a comedic, often farcical, look at the behavior and marital expectations of the upper classes in England at this time. The play centers around the desire of Hardcastle, a wealthy landowner in the country, for his daughter, Kate Hardcastle, to marry the well-educated Charles Marlow. Together with Marlow’s father, Sir Charles Marlow, they arrange for the younger Marlow to visit the Hardcastle’s house and court Kate. However Kate is less than impressed when she finds out that, despite his otherwise strong, respectable character, Charles is extremely shy and reserved around ladies. She therefore vows to herself that she could never marry him. Before Charles and his friend, George Hastings, can arrive at the house, they are waylaid by Mr. Hardcastle’s stepson at the local alehouse. A mischievous joker, Tony Lumpkin persuades them that the Hardcastle’s house is, in fact, the local inn. Thus, when Marlow and Hastings arrive, Marlow treats the Hardcastle family with impudence and disrespect, falsely believing them to be servants there. In order to get to the bottom of his true character, Kate disguises herself as a maid and comedy ensues as Marlow makes love to the “maid” and disregards her father. Meanwhile, George

Hastings is thrilled to find his true love, Constance Neville, living at the Hardcastle’s house. Through the scheming of Mrs. Hardcastle, she is due to marry Tony, despite their mutual dislike of each other. Finding a way to get out of his marriage, Tony helps Constance to retrieve her inheritance and gets his mother out of the way, dumping her in a local horsepond! Finally, as Marlow’s father arrives, all is put to right and Charles Marlow is mortified by his behavior. Forgiven by all, the two couples find happiness with each other, and Tony successfully gains his rightful inheritance without an unwanted engagement.


EVALUATION:Give a brief summary of the play

ASSIGNMENT : Discuss the plot and setting of the play.





She Stoops to Conquer Summary and Analysis of Scene One


The play opens in its primary setting, a chamber in the “old- fashioned” country house of Mr. Hardcastle . Mr. and Mrs. Hardcastle enter in the midst of a pleasant argument. Mrs. Hardcastle is perturbed at her husband’s refusal to take trips into London, while he insists he the “vanity and affectation” of the city. He tires even of the pretentious London trends that find their way into his removed country community. Mrs. Hardcastle mocks him for his love of old-fashioned trends, so much that he keeps his house in such a way that it “looks for all the world like an inn.”

They joke about her age, which she wishes to downplay, and speak of her son from a first marriage, Tony Lumpkin . Mr. Hardcastle finds his roguish ways grating, and laments how the

boy is too given to practical jokes. On the other hand, Mrs. Hardcastle (Tony’s natural mother) defends him, saying education is unnecessary for him since he needs only plan for

spending his sizable fortune, and she begs her husband to be easier on Tony. They both grant that he is too inclined towards drink and jokes, but Mrs. Hardcastle believes him frail and

needing of sympathy. Tony passes by and tells them he is off to the Three Pigeons, a

local pub. Both adults request him not associate with such “low” company, but he defends the liveliness of his pub companions as “not so low.” Mrs. Hardcastle forbids him to go, but he insists he has the stronger willpower, and drags her out.

Alone, Mr. Hardcastle describes them as “a pair that only spoil each other.” He blames it partially on how the modern fashions have infiltrated their lives, and worries that even his own

daughter Kate has been infected by those fashions because of her having lived for a few years in London. Kate (labeled in the play as Miss Hardcastle, but called Kate here

for ease) enters dressed in a lavish gown, which her father finds troublesome. Kate reminds him that they have an agreement: in the morning she dresses as she likes in order to welcome

friends, while in the evening she dresses plainly in order to please his tastes.

Mr. Hardcastle then gives her news: he has invited Mr. Marlow, son of Hardcastle’s old friend Charles Marlow, to their house that

evening in order to court Kate. Hardcastle has chosen Marlow as husband for her, but she is immediately worried that their interview will be overly formal and dull. Mr. Hardcastle considers

this a virtue, and in fact insists to her that Marlow is, while generous, brave, and handsome, best known for being reserved. He leaves to prepare the servants, and Kate laments that she

might have to spend her life with a boring man. She begins to wonder whether she might be able to find a way to be happy even in such a marriage or whether she can change him, but

stops herself from thinking too far ahead. Constance Neville (called Miss Neville in the play but Constance here for ease) enters and Kate tells her the news of Marlow.

Constance is a cousin of Kate, a niece of Mr. Hardcastle who has been orphaned and now lives with the Hardcastles under the protectorship of Mrs. Hardcastle. Constance reveals that she

knows Marlow’s reputation, since Marlow is friends with Mr. Hastings , her admirer and the man she hopes to marry. Constance tells how Marlow is known for excessive formality amongst women of reputation and virtue, but that he is a “very different character” amongst common women. Kate finds this description strange, and they then discuss how Mrs. Hardcastle

disparately wants Constance to marry her son Tony, in hopes of keeping Constance’s small fortune (which consists of some jewels that were bequeathed to her) in the family. Constance quite hates Tony but does not want to reveal to Mrs. Hardcastle that she is in love with Mr. Hastings, and so is in a tricky spot. Her only small comfort is that Tony hates her equally.


Scene Two

Note that the scene is not explicitly labeled “Scene Two” but instead is marked by the setting change.

The setting changes to the room in the Three Pigeons, where Tony fraternizes with several other drunk men. They all urge Tony to sing a song, and he sings of how liquor provides the best learning, while traditional school wisdom can be ignorance. The song also touches on the hypocrisy of men of manners, who like liquor as much as anyone. The song is a great

hit amongst the drunkards, who speak amongst themselves of how wonderful it is to hear songs that are not “low.” They also reminisce to themselves about Tony’s father, who was “the finest

gentleman” in the way he celebrated life.

The landlord brings news that two gentleman have arrived, and are lost on their way to Mr. Hardcastle’s house. Tony intuits quickly they must be Marlow and Hastings, and since Tony is still angry about Hardcastle’s insults, decides he will play a joke on his step-father. He will convince them that Hardcastle’s house is in fact an inn and so will they present themselves there not as gracious guests, but as entitled patrons. He has the men brought to him. Marlow and Hastings are in poor spirits from a long day of travel, Hastings more so because Marlow’s reserve prevented him from asking directions. Tony gives them nonsensical directions to Hardcastle’s that make the place sound many miles away (when it is in fact down the road.)

Tony interrogates them, and they tell how they have heard about Hardcastle’s well-bred daughter and roguish, spoiled son. Tony argues that their information is reversed, that the son (himself) is

much loved and the daughter a “talkative maypole.” The men ask the landlord if they can stay, but, at Tony’s instructions, he tells them there is no room, and so Tony suggests they head down to a nearby inn he knows of. He then gives directions to Hardcastle’s house, cautioning them that landlord there puts on airs and expects to be treated as a gentleman rather than servant. They thank him, and leave for Hardcastle’s home, and so the stage is set for the comedy to come.



While She Stoops to Conquer is most notable for the way it subverts the expectations of its intended audience and provides complicated characters within the guise of stock characters, it is also a “well-made play,” in that it is well structured to deliver a complicated plot with recognizable characters. It is worth understanding this structure before getting into the play’s

eccentricities. Goldsmith writes a first act that establishes with great economy all of the plot to come. Firstly, this act shows his ability as a comedian to “set up” his joke. Several plot details are provided in quick succession that will be necessary to establish all of the zaniness in the subsequent acts. For instance: the house resembles an inn; Kate dresses in nice dresses early, and plain dresses later; Constance is set to inherit jewels that Mrs. Hardcastle hopes will stay in the family; and Marlow has a tendency to speak meekly to “respectable” ladies and passionately to common ladies. All of these elements are important for an audience to understand so that the great

comedy to follow can be easily understood. In this first act, Goldsmith masterfully lays it all out. This play will operate very much through the use of dramatic irony, the effect produced

when the audience knows something the characters do not. Everything Tony sets up in the second scene provides the audience the information they need for dramatic irony to happen. Notice how what we learn here allows us to laugh when all of the characters will only be confused and bothered by their lack of information.

Goldsmith also ably establishes the plot lines we are to follow. The main plot is clearly whether Kate will marry Marlow, while the primary subplot is whether Constance will marry Hastings.

And yet one gets the sense from this first act that such stories (which are typical for comedies not only of the period but even today – think romantic comedy films) are not really Goldsmith’s

concern. Tony seems to stand at the center of the play, considering that it is he who takes action to put the plot in motion, making him what would traditionally be called the protagonist. His love of life and disavowal of customary, respectable expectations will prove crucial to Goldsmith’s

purpose of praising low comedy over sentimental comedy.

Further, there is an additional subplot of whether the Hardcastles will resolve their differences over whether old or new is superior. While this subplot never directly affects the action of the play, it is thematically important, and is given attention right away.

Through all these plots, Goldsmith lays the groundwork for his exploration of morality and respectability. The play’s ironic subversion of traditional expectation is established in both scenes of Act I. In sentimental comedy, characters of virtue would be expected to be the heroes, and would ultimately end up together as reward for such virtue. Sophisticated, educated characters of the town would be praised for their superiority over antiquated country bumpkins who eschew education. Goldsmith creates a world that operates in the same milieu – wealthy characters concerned with appearance and marriage – but subverts these easy classifications.

Firstly, Mrs. Hardcastle, who is presented first as the supporter of sophisticated London ways, has already been presented as a much less admirable person than her husband. Not only does

she spoil her rogue son, but she is concerned only with the appearance of things. She wants her son to marry Constance only for the sake of the girl’s fortune, and is clearly vain in the way she wants to mirror the London fashions and hide her age. On the other hand, Mr. Hardcastle seems to have a great concern for the well-being of his daughter Kate, and while he too is drawn to force her into a marriage with little concern for love,he at least looks to Marlow’s character and not wealth or appearance as the reasoning. This conflict will continue to escalate in later acts.

Further, Marlow, who is ostensibly the hero of the play in its traditional sense, exhibits complications. While he would typically be praised by sentimental comedy for his modesty, we learn that such modesty is not a true expression of his character, but rather a front he uses around modest women. In truth, he is a lively fellow more than willing to engage in more lively, baser behaviors around women of less reputation, suggesting a type of hypocrisy that lies behind “refined” behaviors. Likewise, Kate seems to straddle both sides of the expectation. As a country girl who once lived in town, she is able to both respect the expectations of respectable, plain behavior, while also engaging her love for liveliness.

In truth, Kate stands as the exemplary illustration of moderation, which the play seems to preach. Her foremost virtue in the world is liveliness. She wants to live and enjoy her life, a desire that strict formality seems to exclude. She worries that custom will force her into a boring and loveless marriage, and so seeks to find in this overly-respectable gentleman a man she might enjoy. In the same way, Tony becomes a bit of a spokesman for the play. He presents us with a great irony in his alehouse song: traditional wisdom is presented as ignorance, while base living is praised as the wise way to live. He stresses to his mother that his “low” friends are in fact worthy of respect, which mirrors Goldsmith’s goal of praising “low” comedy. It is worth noting that the alehouse scene, in which drunkards sing and carouse, would have been risky in the theatre of his time. In fact, Goldsmith’s previous play had been criticized for showing scenes of “low” behavior, and so here he not only presents a scene of that sort, but has his drunkards deliberately comment on it, calling it not only acceptable but also stressing that it is not “low” at all to live one’s life in this way, since that is what people do. As Tony’s song says, even the minister engages in such behavior when eyes are not turned his way.

Lastly, the parent-child relationships in the play are quite fascinating. Most worthy of note is that between Tony and his mother, which has a pre-Freudian Oedipal nature. Mrs. Hardcastle is extremely overprotective of Tony, which accounts somewhat for the juvenile life he lives. He wants so badly to strike out at her and defeat her, but the sense is not that of a hero vanquishing a villain, but of an infantile sort. While such psychological interpretation is anachronistic for Goldsmith’s purposes, it is a lens worth considering in one of the play’s strangest, most eccentric relationships. The relationship between Kate and her father is even further from such sexual innuendo, though there is a bizarre nature to the way she works so hard to please him, even in the way she presents herself in plain dress for his pleasure. Certainly, this is necessary to plot in the way Tony’s relationship with is mother is not a part of the plot, but one is led to wonder to what extent Goldsmith, so concerned with satirizing and attacking conventional establishment values,

might be concerned with attacking the convention of a child’s deference to her father. Should Kate be less deferential to her father? Does he smother her to some extent, which is what forces her to want so badly a life away from convention? The play is not primarily concerned with this question and as such never gives a definitive answer, but the set-up is interesting enough that one can approach the play with the question in mind.


EVALUATION: What are the key mix ups on which the plot depends?

ASSIGNMENT : Discuss the significance of act one and two to the development of the play.






Act 3

Plot Summary

Both Mr. Hardcastle and Kate seem confused with their experiences with Marlow. Mr. Hardcastle proclaims him to be an impudent fellow, while Kate voices her utter disappointment on his

lack of liveliness. Kate eventually requests her father to give her an opportunity of revealing the true nature of Marlow. Accordingly, when she appears in a plain dress and is taken for a barmaid by Marlow, the latter not only engages in a fun filled repertoire with her but even tries to embrace her. And Mr. Hardcastle, having observed all these, agrees to let Kate have the night to prove how

he’s both respectful and enjoying. Meanwhile, Tony’s plan to steal the jewels is not known by

Constance, who in turn continually begs Mrs. Hardcastle for them. Tony tells his mother to pretend that the fortune has been stolen so as to deter Constance and Mrs. Hardcastle does so, till she realises that they are actually missing.



The plot becomes more complicated in Act 3, and it is solely Goldsmith’s skilled craftsmanship, his use of dramatic irony, for which the happenings, though perplexing, seem natural and

acceptable. Thus the various events – Tony’s stealing the jewels and pressing his mother to lie that they are lost and later Mrs. Hardcastle’s mortifying discovery – serve in making the play more amusing. Nonetheless, two important themes are also explored dexterously; the unsettling dilemma faced by both Mr. Hardcastle and Kate regarding Marlow’s ambiguous nature and Kate’s “stooping” to clear it.


Act 4

Plot Summary

The expected arrival of Mr. Charles Marlow creates new problems for Constance and Hastings, for their affair is to be exposed along with the estimation of whether Marlow and Kate are to marry.

Now, the jewels that Hastings send through a servant to Marlow for safekeeping are erroneously given by Marlow to Mrs. Hardcastle, thereby prompting Hastings to plan a speedy

elopement with Constance. Mr. Hardcastle meanwhile, being thoroughly offended with Marlow’s rudeness, orders him to leave; an attitude that finally makes Marlow wonder that perhaps

something is wrong. His misconceptions are corrected by Kate, who emerging again as a barmaid, informs him that it is Mr. Hardcastle’s house and she is a poor relation. Marlow, though

claims of beginning to feel for her genuinely, takes her leave for not wishing to get entwined in such a poor relation. Mrs. Hardcastle, in the meantime, intercepts a letter that Hastings

has written to Neville, informing the latter to wait for him in the garden. Infuriated with this new, unexpected development, she plans to take Neville with her. The act finally ends with a heated

confrontation involving Marlow, Hastings, and Tony, in which Tony ultimately offers to solve all Hastings’s problems.



All unexpected things occur in Act 4; Marlow is not at all interested in Kate and Constance’s elopement with Hastings is also unsure. This act also critically points at aristocratic hypocrisy through Marlow’s unwillingness in accepting plainly attired Kate, though he unflinchingly declares that he is ready to pay for her honour. Tony’s helping attitude is hinted as he offers to assist Hastings in recovering the jewels.

EVALUATION : Who is Tony Lumpkin?

ASSIGNMENT : Explain how Miss Kate Hardcastle’s personality stands as the way of life Goldsmith most recommends.






Act 5

Plot Summary

Sir Charles Marlow after arrival, shares a hearty laugh with Hastings over Marlow’s confusion. Marlow, besides apologising, declares his reluctance in forming any connection with Kate since there has been no purposeful conversation. This surprises Mr. Hardcastle, who has been an active witness of Marlow’s amorous advancements towards his daughter. As Marlow leaves, Kate

arrives and assures them of solving the mystery soon. It is from an interview between Marlow and Kate that the two old men, stationed at a place behind the screen, watch Marlow’s colourful

character and get along to arrange their wedding. Now, the events revolving around Hastings and Constance develop at an equally interesting manner. Tony informs Hastings, who is waiting in the garden for Constance, how he has deliberately made his mother and Constance drive all over in confounding circles to convince them they are far off. Mrs. Hardcastle’s apprehension

further intensifies as she mistakes her husband for a “highway man.” Hastings and Constance decide not to elope, but rather to seek Mr. Hardcastle’s permission to marry. In the end, all

problems end as Kate discloses her true identity to Marlow and Mr. Hardcastle reveals that Tony is “of age” – an advantage that allows him to reject Constance readily.



Act 5 seems to follow the general trend of sentimental comedy in uniting all the estranged lovers and solving the reigning problems. But it is definitely not so. For, Kate’s deliberate scheme in

exposing Marlow’s hypocrisy and Tony’s open declaration of refusing to marry Constance, aids in upholding Goldsmith’s views of living life according to one’s wishes rather than the way one

observes, thereby making the conclusion of this romantic comedy essentially exciting and enjoyable.


The Two Epilogues

In the first epilogue, Kate asserts how she has “stooped to conquer with success” thereby referring to her winning of Marlow’s heart as well as the success of the play. In the second epilogue, Tony declares how he would gain prosperity in the world by “bringing his lively spirit to London, where he will show the world what good taste is,” thus reminding the audience how “good taste” is a product of liveliness and not morality.









Most of the action takes place in the Hardcastle mansion in the English countryside, about sixty miles from London. The mansion is an old but comfortable dwelling that resembles an inn. A brief

episode takes place at a nearby tavern, The Three Pigeons Alehouse. The time is the eighteenth century.




Mr. Hardcastle : Middle-aged gentleman who lives in an old mansion in the countryside about sixty miles from London. He prefers to the simple rural life and its old-fashioned manners and customs to the trendy and pretentious ways of upper-crust London.


Mrs. Dorothy Hardcastle :Wife of Mr. Hardcastle. Unlike her husband, she yearns to sample life in high society. She also values material possessions and hopes to match her son (by her first

husband) with her niece, Constance Neville, in order to keep her niece’s inheritance in the family.


Charles Marlow : Promising young man who comes to the country to woo the Hardcastles’ pretty daughter, Kate. His only drawback is that he is extremely shy around refined young ladies, although he is completely at ease—and even forward—with women of humble birth and working-class status. He is a pivotal character in the play, used by author Goldsmith to satirize England’s preoccupation with, and overemphasis on, class distinctions. However, Marlow’s redeeming qualities make him a likeable character, and the audience tends to root for him when he becomes the victim of a practical joke resulting in mix-ups and mistaken identities.


Kate Hardcastle : Pretty daughter of the Hardcastles who is wooed by Charles Marlow. When he mistakes her for a woman of the lower class, she allows him to continue to mistake her identity,

thus freeing his captive tongue so she can discover what he really thinks about her.


Tony Lumpkin : Son of Mrs. Hardcastle by her first husband. He is a fat, ale-drinking young man who has little ambition except to play practical jokes and visit the local tavern whenever he has a mind. When Tony comes of age, he will receive 1,500 pounds a year. His mother hopes to marry him to her niece, Constance Neville, who is in line to inherit a casket of jewels from her uncle.  

Tony and Miss Neville despise each other.


George Hastings : Friend of Marlow who loves Constance Neville.While Marlow is busy with Kate, Hastings is busy with Constance. Hastings hatches a plan to elope with Constance and

receives the help of Tony, who wants to erase Constance from his life—and his mother’s constant efforts to match him with Constance.


Constance Neville: Comely young lady who loves Hastings but is bedeviled by Mrs. Hardcastle’s schemes to match her with Tony. Constance, an orphan, is the niece and ward of Mrs. Hardcastle

(who holds Miss Neville’s inheritance in her possession until she becomes legally qualified to take possession of it) and the cousin of Kate.


Sir Charles Marlow : Father of young Charles. Servants in the Hardcastle Household

Maid in the Hardcastle Household Landlord of the Three Pigeons Alehouse

First Fellow, Second Fellow, Third Fellow, Fourth Fellow : Drinking companions of Tony Lumpkin.










Class Bias

Until Kate teaches him a lesson, Marlow responds to women solely on the basis of their status in society. He looks down on women of the lower class but is wholly at ease around them; he esteems women of the upper class but is painfully shy around them. Like the London society in which he was brought up, he assumes that all women of a certain class think and act according to artificial and arbitrary standards expected of that class. As for Mrs. Hardcastle, she appears to assess a person by the value of his or her possessions.


Love Ignores Social Boundaries


Although prevailing attitudes among England’s elite classes frown on romance between one of their own and a person of humble origin, Marlow can’t help falling in love with a common “barmaid” (who is, of course, Kate in disguise).


Hope for Flawed Humanity

Although Marlow makes a fool of himself as a result of his upper- class biases, Kate has enough common sense to see through the London hauteur encasing him and to appreciate him for his

genuinely good qualities—which are considerable, once he allows them to surface. Also, Mrs. Hardcastle, in spite of her misguided values, enjoys the love of her practical, down-to-earth husband. He, too, is willing to look beyond her foibles in favor of her good points.


Money Breeds Indolence


Tony Lumpkin will get 1,500 pounds a year when he comes of age. Thus, without financial worries, he devotes himself to ale and a do- nothing life.








Style and Structure


Goldsmith’s style is wry, witty, and simple but graceful. From beginning to end, the play is both entertaining and easy to understand, presenting few words and idioms that modern audiences would not understand. It is also well constructed and moves along rapidly, the events of the fir

act—in particular, references to Tony Lumpkin’s childhood propensity for working mischief and playing playing practical jokes—foreshadowing the events of the following acts.

There are frequent scene changes, punctuated by an occasional appearance of a character alone on the stage (solus in the stage directions) reciting a brief account of his feelings. In modern terms, the play is a page-turner for readers. Goldsmith observed the classical unities of time and place, for the action of the play takes place in single locale (the English countryside) on a single day.


The type of comedy which She Stoops to Conquer represents has been much disputed. However, there is a consensus amongst audiences and critics that the play is a comedy of manners. It can also be seen as one of the following comedy types: Laughing comedy or sentimental comedy When the play was first produced, it was discussed as an example of the revival of laughing comedy over the sentimental comedy seen as dominant on the English stage since the success of The Conscious Lovers, written by Sir Richard Steele in 1722. In the same year, an essay in a London magazine, entitled “An Essay on the Theatre; Or, A Co Laughing And

Sentimental Comedy”, suggested that sentimental comedy, a false form of comedy, had taken over the boards from the older and more truly comic laughing comedy. Some theatre historians believe that the essay was written by Goldsmith as a puff piece for She Stoops to Conquer as an

exemplar of the laughing comedy which Goldsmith (perhaps) had touted. Goldsmith’s name was linked with that of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, author of The Rivals and The School for Scandal, as standard-bearers for the resurgent laughing comedy.


Comedy of manners

The play can also be seen as a comedy of manners, in which, in a polite society setting, the comedy arises from the gap between the characters’ attempts to preserve standards of

polite behaviour, that contrasts to their true behaviour. Romantic comedy

It also seen by some critics as a romantic comedy, which depicts how seriously young people take love, and how foolishly it makes them behave, (similar to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream); in She Stoops to Conquer, Kate’s stooping and Marlow’s nervousness are good examples of romantic comedy.



Alternatively, it can be seen as a satire, where characters are presented as either ludicrous or eccentric. Such a comedy might leave the impression that the characters are either too foolish or corrupt to ever reform, hence Mrs. Hardcastle. Farce or comedy of errors The play is sometimes described as a farce and a comedy of errors, because it is based on multiple misunderstandings,

hence Marlow and Hastings believing the Hardcastles’ house is an inn.


The Three Unities

The dramatic technique of Classical unities is employed by Goldsmith to some extent in She Stoops to Conquer.

The Unity of Action – This is the one Unity that Goldsmith does not rigorously follow; the inclusion of the subplot of Constance- Hastings eloping distracts from the main narrative of the play. However, it shares similar themes of relationships and what makes the best kind (mutual attraction or the arrangement of a parent or guardian). Furthermore, the subplot interweaves with

the main plot, for example when Hastings and Marlow confront Tony regarding his mischief making.


The Unity of Time – The alternative title of Mistakes of the Night illustrates that the Unity of Time is carefully observed. With all of the events occurring in a single night, the plot becomes more stimulating as well as lending more plausibility to the series of unlucky coincidences that conspire against the visitors.


The Unity of Place – While some may question whether She Stoops to Conquer contains the Unity of Place – after all, the scene at the “The Three Pigeons” is set apart from the house –

but the similarity between the alehouse and the “old rumbling mansion, that looks all the world like an inn” is one of close resemblance; enough that in past performances, the scenes have often doubled up the use of the same set backdrop. Also, there is some debate as to whether the excursion to “Crackskull common” counts as a separate setting, but since the truth is that the travellers do not leave the mansion gardens, the Unity of Place is not violated.


Type of Play.

She Stoops to Conquer is a stage play in the form of a comedy of manners, which ridicules the manners (way of life, social customs, etc.) of a certain segment of society, in this case the upper class. The play is also sometimes termed a drawing- room comedy. The play uses farce (including many mix-ups) and satire to poke fun at the class-consciousness of eighteenth-century Englishmen and to satirize what Goldsmith called the “weeping sentimental comedy so much in fashion at present.”


Style and Structure

Goldsmith’s style is wry, witty, and simple but graceful. From beginning to end, the play is both entertaining and easy to understand, presenting few words and idioms that modern audiences would not understand. It is also well constructed and moves along rapidly, the events of the first act—in particular, references to Tony Lumpkin’s childhood propensity for working mischief and playing practical jokes—foreshadowing the events of the following acts. There are frequent scene changes, punctuated by an occasional appearance of a character alone on the stage (solus in the stage directions) reciting a brief account of his feelings. In modern terms, the play is a page-turner for readers. Goldsmith observed the classical unities of time and place, for the action of the play takes place in single locale (the English countryside) on a single day



The title refers to Kate’s ruse of pretending to be a barmaid to reach her goal. It originates in the poetry of Dryden, which Goldsmith may have seen misquoted by Lord Chesterfield. In Chesterfield’s version, the lines in question read: “The prostrate lover, when he lowest lies, But stoops to conquer, and but kneels to rise.”









” Birches ” is a poem by American poet Robert Frost (1874-1963). It was collected in Frost’s third collection of poetry Mountain Interval that was published in 1916. Consisting of 59 lines, it is one of Robert Frost’s most anthologized poems. The poem “Birches”, along with other poems that deal with rural landscape and wildlife, shows Frost as a nature poet. 



Frost’s writing of this poem was inspired by another similar poem “Swinging on a Birch-tree” by American poet Lucy Larcom and his own experience of swinging birch trees at his childhood. Frost once told “it was almost sacrilegious climbing a birch tree till it bent, till it gave and swooped to the ground, but that’s what boys did in those days”. Written in 1913-1914, “Birches” first appeared in Atlantic Monthly in the August issue of 1915, and was later collected in Frost’s third book Mountain Interval (1916). 




When I see birches bend to left and right

Across the lines of straighter darker trees,

I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.

But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay

As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them

Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning

After a rain. They click upon themselves

As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored

As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.

Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells

Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—

Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away

You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.

They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,

And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed

So low for long, they never right themselves:

You may see their trunks arching in the woods

Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground

Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair

Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.

But I was going to say when Truth broke in

With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm

I should prefer to have some boy bend them

As he went out and in to fetch the cows—

Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,

Whose only play was what he found himself,

Summer or winter, and could play alone.

One by one he subdued his father’s trees

By riding them down over and over again

Until he took the stiffness out of them,

And not one but hung limp, not one was left

For him to conquer. He learned all there was

To learn about not launching out too soon

And so not carrying the tree away

Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise

To the top branches, climbing carefully

With the same pains you use to fill a cup

Up to the brim, and even above the brim.

Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,

Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.

So was I once myself a swinger of birches.

And so I dream of going back to be.

It’s when I’m weary of considerations,

And life is too much like a pathless wood

Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs

Broken across it, and one eye is weeping

From a twig’s having lashed across it open.

I’d like to get away from earth awhile

And then come back to it and begin over.

May no fate willfully misunderstand me

And half grant what I wish and snatch me away

Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:

I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.

I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,

And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk

Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,

But dipped its top and set me down again.

That would be good both going and coming back.

One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.


When the speaker (the poet himself) sees the birches being bent to left and right sides in contrast to straight trees, he likes to think that some boys have been swinging them. He then realizes that it is not the boys, rather the ice storms that bend the birches. On a winter morning, freezing rain covers the branches with ice, which then cracks and falls to the snow covered ground. The sunlight refracts on the ice crystals, making a brilliant display. When the Truth again strikes the speaker, he still prefers his imagination of the boys swinging and bending the birches. In his imagination, the boy plays with the birches. The speaker says he also was a swinger of birches when he was a boy, and wishes to be so now. When he becomes weary of this world, and life

becomes confused, he likes to go toward heaven by climbing a birch tree and then come back again because earth is the right place for love.



This poem is written in blank verse with a particular emphasis on the “sound of sense.” For example, when Frost describes the cracking of the ice on the branches, his selections of syllables create a visceral sense of the action taking place: “Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells / Shattering and avalanching on the snow crust — / Such heaps of broken glass

to sweep away…” Originally, this poem was called “Swinging Birches,” a title that perhaps provides a more accurate depiction of the subject. In writing this poem, Frost was inspired by his childhood experience with swinging on birches, which was a popular game for children in rural areas of New England during the time. Frost’s own children were avid “birch swingers,” as demonstrated by a selection from his daughter Lesley’s journal: “On the way home, i

climbed up a high birch and came down with it and i stopped in the air about three feet and pap cout me.” In the poem, the act of swinging on birches is presented as a way to escape the hard rationality or “Truth” of the adult world, if only for a moment. As the boy climbs up the tree, he is climbing toward “heaven” and a place where his imagination can be free.

The narrator explains that climbing a birch is an opportunity to “get away from earth awhile / And then come back to it and begin over.” A swinger is still grounded in the earth through the roots of the tree as he climbs, but he is able to reach beyond his normal life on the earth and reach for a higher plane of existence.

Frost highlights the narrator’s regret that he can no longer find this peace of mind from swinging on birches. Because he is AN ADULT, he is unable to leave his responsibilities behind and climb toward heaven until he can start fresh on the earth. In fact, the narrator is not even able to enjoy the imagined view of a boy swinging in the birches. In the fourth line of the poem, he is forced to acknowledge the “Truth” of the birches: the bends are caused by winter storms, not by a boy swinging on them.

Significantly, the narrator’s desire to escape from the rational world is inconclusive. He wants to escape as a boy climbing toward heaven, but he also wants to return to the earth: both “going and coming back.” The freedom of imagination is appealing and wondrous, but the narrator still cannot avoid returning to “Truth” and his responsibilities on the ground; the escape is only a temporary one. The poem is full of ambiguity and it has got a very aesthetic sense to it.




One important theme of “Birches” is how Frost uses his poetic imagination to transcend the limits of the real world. He rejects the true reason the birches have been bent over in favor of his own fanciful explanation. On some level, he is claiming that this act of the imagination embodies a larger “truth” and is a worthy task, one that must be made with great care and diligence. 



Youth, like death, is a constant backdrop for many of Frost’s poems. The speaker of “Birches” never sees a boy or comes across one. He only imagines one, and the boy that he does imagine is himself at a younger age. The boy seems to be similar to William Wordsworth and Walt Whitman’s portrayals of boys. These boys have their own rules and wisdom that they can pass on to the older men and women around them. They are ready for adventures in nature and represent the wild, untamed state of “man” that remains good and moral even though no one is there to govern him.



Robert Frost is not the kind of poet to insert religious imagery into his poems. A subtle Christian allusion is rare. However, the poet writes a lot of meditations on life and death, so that

always brings in spiritual questions. In “Birches,” Frost mentions “heaven” twice. Notice how it is always with a lower- case h and is more suggestive of the sky than paradise. The poem could be read as an allegory, but it’s a little too skeptical for that.



As with much of Frost’s poetry, “Birches” creates a mood of loneliness and isolation. Some factors that contribute to the,mood include the winter weather, which seems to cut the speaker off from other people, and the speaker’s discussion of the boy growing up on an isolated farm. The speaker’s loneliness may be the result of adult concerns. and considerations.







Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;

Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou growest:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


Summary: Sonnet 18

The speaker opens the poem with a question addressed to the beloved: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” The next eleven lines are devoted to such a comparison. In line 2 , the speaker stipulates what mainly differentiates the young man from the summer’s day: he is “more lovely and more temperate.” Summer’s days tend toward extremes: they are shaken by “rough winds”; in them, the sun (“the eye of heaven”) often shines “too hot,” or too dim. And summer is fleeting: its date is too short, and it leads to the withering of autumn, as “every fair from fair sometime declines.” The final quatrain of the sonnet tells how the beloved differs from the summer in that respect: his beauty will last forever (“Thy eternal summer shall not fade…”) and never die. In the couplet, the speaker explains how the beloved’s beauty will accomplish this feat, and not perish because it is preserved in the poem, which will last forever; it will live “as long as men can breathe or eyes can see.”



This sonnet is certainly the most famous in the sequence of Shakespeare’s sonnets; it may be the most famous lyric poem in English. Among Shakespeare’s works, only lines such as “To be or not to be” and “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” are better- known. This is not to say that it is at all the best or most interesting or most beautiful of the sonnets; but the simplicity and loveliness of its praise of the beloved has guaranteed its place. On the surface, the poem is simply a statement of praise about the beauty of the beloved; summer tends to unpleasant extremes of windiness and heat, but the beloved is always mild and temperate. Summer is incidentally personified as the “eye of heaven” with its “gold complexion”; the imagery throughout is simple and unaffected, with the “darling buds of May” giving way to the “eternal summer”, which the speaker promises the beloved. The language, too, is comparatively unadorned for the sonnets; it is not heavy with alliteration or assonance, and nearly every line is its own self-contained clause—almost every line ends with some punctuation, which effects a pause.


Sonnet 18 is the first poem in the sonnets not to explicitly encourage the young man to have children. The “procreation” sequence of the first 17 sonnets ended with the speaker’s realization that the young man might not need children to preserve his beauty; he could also live, the speaker writes at the end of Sonnet 17 , “in my rhyme.” Sonnet 18 , then, is the first “rhyme”—the speaker’s first attempt to preserve the young man’s beauty for all time. An important theme of the sonnet (as it is an important theme throughout much of the sequence) is the power of the speaker’s poem to defy time and last forever, carrying the beauty of the beloved down to future generations. The beloved’s “eternalMsummer” shall not fade precisely because it is embodied in the sonnet: “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,” the speaker writes in the couplet, “So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


Sonnet 18 is devoted to praising a friend or lover, traditionally known as the ‘fair youth’, the sonnet itself a guarantee that this person’s beauty will be sustained. Even death will be silenced

because the lines of verse will be read by future generations, when speaker and poet and lover are no more, keeping the fair image alive through the power of verse. The opening line is almost a tease, reflecting the speaker’s uncertainty as he attempts to compare his lover with a

summer’s day. The rhetorical question is posed for both speaker and reader and even the metrical stance of this first line is open to conjecture. Is it pure iambic pentameter? This

comparison will not be straightforward.

This image of the perfect English summer’s day is then surpassed as the second line reveals that the lover is more lovely and more temperate. Lovely is still quite commonly used in England and carries the same meaning (attractive, nice, beautiful) whilst temperate in Shakespeare’s time meant gentle-natured, restrained, moderate and composed.

The second line refers directly to the lover with the use of the second person pronoun Thou, now archaic. As the sonnet progresses however, lines 3 – 8 concentrate on the ups and

downs of the weather, and are distanced, taken along on a steady iambic rhythm (except for line 5, see later).

Summer time in England is a hit and miss affair weather-wise. Winds blow, rain clouds gather and before you know where you are, summer has come and gone in a week.The season seems all too short – that’s true for today as it was in Shakespeare’s time – and people tend to moan when it’s too hot, and grumble when it’s overcast.

The speaker is suggesting that for most people, summer will pass all too quickly and they will grow old, as is natural, their beauty fading with the passing of the season.

With repetition, alliteration and internal and end rhyme, the reader is taken along through this uncertain, changing, fateful time. Note the language of these lines: rough, shake, too short, Sometimes, too hot, often, dimmed, declines, chance, changing, untrimmed.

And there are interesting combinations within each line, which add to the texture and soundscape: Rough/buds, shake/May, hot/ heaven, eye/shines, often/gold/complexion, fair from fair, sometimes/declines, chance/nature/changing, nature/course.

Life is not an easy passage through Time for most, if not all people. Random events can radically alter who we are, and we are all subject to Time’s effects.

In the meantime the vagaries of the English summer weather are called up again and again as the speaker attempts to put everything into perspective. Finally, the lover’s beauty, metaphorically an eternal summer, will be preserved forever in the poet’s immmortal lines.

And those final two lines, 13 and 14, are harmony itself. Following twelve lines without any punctuated caesura (a pause or break in the delivery of the line), line 13 has a 6/4 caesura and the last line a 4/6. The humble comma sorts out the syntax, leaving everything in balance, giving life.


Sonnet 18 Language and Tone

Note the use of the verb shall and the different tone it brings to separate lines. In the first line it refers to the uncertainty the speaker feels. In line nine there is the sense of some kind of definite promise, whilst line eleven conveys the idea of a command for death to remain silent.

The word beauty does not appear in this sonnet. Both summer and fair are used instead.

Thou, thee and thy are used throughout and refer directly to the lover, the fair youth. And/Nor/So long repeat, reinforce

Sonnet 18 is an English or Shakespearean sonnet, 14 lines in length, made up of 3 quatrains and a couplet. It has a regular rhyme scheme: abab cdcd efef gg. All the end rhymes are full, the

exceptions being temperate/date .


Metrical Analysis

Sonnet 18 is written in traditional iambic pentameter but it has to be remembered that this is the overall dominant metre (meter in USA). Certain lines contain trochees, spondees and possibly

anapaests. Whilst some lines are pure iambic, following the pattern of da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM , no stress syllable followed by a stressed syllable, others are not.

Why is this an important issue? Well, the metre helps dictate the rhythm of a line and also how it should be read. Take that first line for example:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

There’s no doubting that this is a question so therefore the stress would normally fall on the first word, Shall. Say it quietly to yourself and you’ll find the natural thing to do is place a little more

emphasis on that opening word, because it is a question being asked. If the emphasis was on the second word, I, the sense would be lost. So it is no longer an iamb in the first foot, but a trochee, an inverted iamb.

Shall I / com pare / thee to / a sum / mer’s day ? (trochee, iamb x4)

But, there is an alternative analysis of this first line, which focuses on the mild caesura (pause after thee ) and scans an amphibrach and an anapaest in a tetrameter line:

Shall I / com pare thee / to a sum / mer’s day ?

Here we have an interesting mix, the stress still on the opening word in the first foot, with the second foot of non stressed, stressed, non stressed, which makes an amphibrach. The third foot

is the anapaest, the fourth the lonely iamb. There are four feet so the line is in tetrameter.

Both scans are valid because of the flexible way in which English can be read and certain words only partially stressed. For me, when I read this opening line, the second version seems more natural because of that faint pause after the word thee . I cannot read the opening line whilst sticking to the daDUM daDUM iambic pentameter beat. It just doesn’t ring true. 


More Analysis – Lines That Are Not Iambic


Line 3

Again, the iambic pentameter rhythm is altered by the use of a spondee at the start, two stressed single syllable words: Rough winds / do shake / the dar / ling buds / of May ,

This places emphasis on the meaning and gives extra weight to the rough weather.

Line 5

Again an inversion occurs, the opening trochee replacing the iamb: Sometimes too hot the eye of hea ven shines , The stress is on the first syllable, after which the iambic pattern continues to the end. Note the metaphor (eye of heaven) for the sun, and the inversion of the line grammatically, where too hot ordinarily would be at the end of the line. This is called anastrophe, the change of order in a sentence. Line 11

Note the spondee, this time in the middle of the line. And a trochee

opens: Nor shall death brag thou wand ‘rest in his shade, The emphasis is on death brag, the double stress reinforcing the initial trochee to make quite a powerful negation.