March 10, 2014 – English
Conscious lovers: characters are middle class (bourgeois), emphasis on family, conservative
ideas, honor. Ideals exemplified through the characters. Building the character of the nature.
Most famous sentimental comedy of the century. 1722 Nov. 7 run of 18 nights. Performed on the
stage every year until 1775. Encouraged other playwrights to write similar. Portrait of the
virtuous woman and man.
Style: no bedroom farce of restoration drama, elevation of the drama, decency. Main plot
(serious and conventional lovers at the center of the play) and sub plot. Roman comedy. In
some ways it’s a free adaptation of Terence’s Andria. Conflict between old generation and
young generation. Stock characters.
Preface: written by Richard Steele. Introducing the published edition of the play, advertisement
of the edition. Universal acceptance. Talks about the relationship between the stage play and
the printed play: printed play (half the life of the play, gets people to go watch it) performance
(the play is of value, example and precept). Innocence performance, agenda reformation of
comedy. Improve comedy by depicting scenes that appeals to reason and good sense (weeping
is morally instrumental). We laugh at instances that are below us, crude laughter. (She –
Tragedy) women suffering.
• Example: behaviors, how to be a good son, father, husband, examples of virtuous
characters, examples of how to behave in social situations
• Precept: articulated rules and behaviors, values that are not shown but that are
Prologue: written by Leonard Willstead. Myrtle speaking in the prologue. Win hearts and secure
the praise. Plays before have used farce, fancy costumes, disfigurements, sexual innuendo,
wenches. Insulting his audiences a little by revealing what they like. Can please through pure
comedy, we don’t need the immorality. Goal is improvement, refine the age. Compliments the
audience (wins the audience over). If you don’t like this play then you’re