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She Stoops to Conquer takes place in England in the 18th century, a time when British society was still rigidly divided along traditional class lines but was in the midst of a geographic shift that co/mplicated class distinctions, as both poor and rich were leaving rural areas in droves and moving to the cities. Although the upper class in the city was not technically superior to the upper class living in the countryside, urban aristocrats were considered more sophisticated, sophisticated, and fashionable than the nobles living in the countryside. The nobility was considered more rustic and, therefore, closer in appearance to the lower classes, who had little education. She Stoops to Conquer is an expanded interaction between city and village people, as well as between masters and servants, and thanks to this expanded interaction, the game suggests that those who believe that greater wealth and status make them better or wiser than others are fooling themselves.
Throughout the play, representatives of the upper class try to assert their high status by treating people with a lower social status rudely or even offensively. Such behavior was not considered unusual or inappropriate in 18th century England, but in this play such behavior often has unpleasant consequences, making a fool of a person who acted arrogantly and did not offend a lower-class person. Marlowe is especially contemptuous of those who, in his opinion, is under him. He treats Hardcastle arrogantly when he believes that he is the owner of a tavern, interrupting his stories, disposing of them, and, as a rule, feeling at home in his house without asking permission. Marlowe’s possible realization that Tony deceived him into thinking that Hardcastle’s house is an inn is a rural victory over the city because, although he is poorly educated and boorish, Tony killed him in the well. Marlowe’s educated cosmopolitan who shows that life in a city doesn’t necessarily make someone smarter, smarter, or more sophisticated.
Feeling worried that his house and family will not be able to impress Marlowe, Hardcastle intends to clarify his high status by teaching his servants to be more slavish before Marlow arrives. In an arrogant and overbearing lesson that he experiences with insults, Hardcastle instructs his servants how not to behave like an equal to his guests. However, it is clear that the relationship between him and his servants, as a rule, is much more even and collegial. When Diggory says that Hardcastle should not tell some particularly funny story if he wants the servants not to laugh, the master and the servants immediately laugh nostalgically, reflecting the warm relationship that they actually share. Thus, the game slightly mocks Marlowe and Hardcastle, showing how little people earn by treating others as they do.
The play not only makes fun of pompous and disrespectful people – but it also models a more egalitarian behavior. Kate embodies a lowly attitude that combines the attributes of both a country and a city, and at the same time treats servants with respect. Kate demonstrates the ability to flexibly move between the top and bottom when she moves from the fashionable dress of wealthy, young urban women to a more modest and practical dress. She also clearly does not need to assert her superiority by insulting her servants, as evidenced by her close relationship with her maid Pimple, thanks to whom Kate finds out that Marlow mistook her for a maid. Kate confidentially tells Pimple about her plan to trick Marlow, showing her respect for Pimple. Kate also shows amazing flexibility in the ability to convincingly play the roles of women with three different social statuses. First, Kate pretends to be a very correct and honest woman, then she pretends to be a poor, uneducated servant, and finally, she pretends to be a poor relative of a family who works as a housekeeper but is just as well-born and well educated as Kate. In each of these roles, Kate also manages to show her wit, her modesty, her sensitivity and her ability to love. Changing class features, while not losing their individuality or dignity, Kate shows that a lesson is more representation than an inborn reflection of a person’s dignity.
She Stoops to Conquer does not advocate changing the British class structure – if that were the case, Marlow would probably have to face some punitive justice for mistreating the lower class. Instead, this behavior is considered excusable but erroneous. Therefore, instead of presenting in-depth criticism of the British class system, the play shows that external expressions of superiority often make a person a fool, and that class differences, although they do not have to be eliminated, should not be too serious.
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