She stoops to conquer

by Oliver Goldsmith

Paper Book, 1991





New York : Dover, 1991.


The action of She Stoops to Conquer (1773) is largely confined to a night and a day in Squire Hardcastle's somewhat dilapidated country house: Young Marlow, on his way there to meet the bride his father has chosen for him, loses his way and arrives at the house assuming it is an inn. The prospect of meeting the genteel Miss Hardcastle terrifies the diffident youngster; but the serving-girl Kate - in fact, Miss Hardcastle, who chooses not to clarify the misunderstanding - immediately catches his fancy and cannot complain of a lack of ardour in her well-born suitor. After a series of trifling confusions and the inevitable eavesdropping-from-behind-a-screen, all is resolved so pleasingly that the comedy has been a favourite with amateur and professional companies and their audiences for over 230 years.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member sedelia
*Review of LA Theatre Works Audiobook Edition*

I went into this book with very little expectation. I mean, it's a supposed classic that I've never heard of, and drama isn't my particular favorite. However, it was a free audiobook download from Sync this summer, and it was the recording of a theater production that included James Marsters (eek!). It's also only a couple of hours long (not a huge commitment at all), so I decided to give it a go.

Um, why haven't I heard of this play before? Because it's hilarious! 20 minutes in, I was laughing non-stop and having a thoroughly good time. The fact that this is recorded theatre gives it a huge advantage, since the performers give their lines with perfect emphasis and tone. She Stoops to Conquer is a typical comedy that centers around mistaken identities and misunderstood situations. All of the characters are funny and loveable, and the talent of the performers is unmistakable, even without being able to see them act it out.

I'm so glad that I had the chance to discover this play, and that I was able to do so in an audio format. I think that most plays are meant to be heard and/or seen, and I would definitely recommend staying away from the print and going straight to a performance or this audio version for She Stoops to Conquer. Many of the jokes wouldn't be very funny without hearing the interaction between the characters and without hearing the inflections of the words.

The plot is fairly predictable; however, because of its simplicity and some of the extremely ludicrous characters (like Mrs. Hardcastle), I believe this was written as a parody of the mistaken identities type of play that Shakespeare is so famous for.

If you ever get the chance to listen to this, or see it performed, do so! It's one of the funniest plays I've come across.
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LibraryThing member MeditationesMartini
We could all learn a lesson from Tony Lumpkin: life needs more tricks! Let's not dress it up, this is a romp, and one that takes a certain amount of charm from its enlightenment brittleness--the previous ages would not have dwelled so long on the reversal of social roles--but also from its enlinghtenment sap--the Victorians wouldn't have givne themselves over to the bawdy good times. The Enlightenment! It was a well-balanced time!… (more)
LibraryThing member Cariola
Goldsmith's aim was to knock the popular sentimental comedy off the stage and replace it with what he called "laughing comedy"--and he did it resoundingly with [She Stoops to Conquer]. The play features a cast of characters who, though flawed, are all likeable and human. Old-fashioned Mr. Hardcastle loves the simple country life, but his wife and daughter long for London. To appease him, daughter Kate has agreed to wear a plain housedress in the evenings if he will allow her to wear the latest fashions during the day. Hardcastle announces that the man he has chosen for Kate's husband is on his way to visit. Marlow sounds like the man of her dreams--rich, generous, well respected, young, and handsome--but he has one flaw that she can't abide: he gets tongue-tied and "reserved" in the company of respectable ladies of his class.

Along the way, Goldsmith delights us with the antics of Kate's half-brother, the oafish and prank-loving Tony Lumpkin (who turns out to be a lot smarter than he seems) and a second pair of lovers, Marlowe's friend Hastings and Constance Neville, Mrs. Hardcastle's niece and ward. Not to mention a whole crew of hilarious servants!

This has been on e of the most popular plays in the English language since its debut in 1773, and it's easy to understand just why.
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LibraryThing member antiquary
Having seen this live at the Canadian Stratford, I can vouch that it is amazingly funny in performance
LibraryThing member leslie.98
This full cast audiobook recording was a fun way to revisit one of my favorite Restoration comedies. However, I found that some of the humor didn't come across as well as it did in reading (of course, both of those pale in comparison to seeing the play performed!).
LibraryThing member Schmerguls
This play was first performed in 1773 and has been often performed since. I decided one should see it rather than read it. I found it hard to follow on a perhaps too cursory reading, and drew little entertainment from it.
LibraryThing member TerriS
Kind of fun & funny; the language is so different, being written in 1773. I liked it. :)
LibraryThing member varielle
Time has not been kind to this play, though in its day it was quite the thing. Pranksters misdirect travelers to a private home which they believe is an inn and romantic mayhem ensues. I do think a talented screenwriter could bring it up to date and make a decent Romcom out of it.
LibraryThing member MickyFine
L.A. Theatre Works audio presentation of the classic play full of mistaken identities and endless hijinks. Two friends end up at an estate where they're supposed to make a good impression and one of them is to woo the daughter of the lord of the manor. However, they are informed by the mischief-making son that it's an inn. Comedy ensues. A funny way to spend a couple hours and it definitely doesn't hurt that James Marsters plays one of the leading roles.… (more)
LibraryThing member Muscogulus
A bone-headed edition of a very good play.


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