Dramatic Techniques Used in Oliver Goldsmith’s “She Stoops to Conquer”

With reference to any two instances, examine the dramatic techniques used by the writer in the play.

Among the various techniques used in the play, the use of dramatic Irony and soliloquy/aside are the most prominent.

At the beginning of the play, Mr. and Mrs. Hardcastle are discussing, Mrs. Hardcastle longs for a trip to London for a little polishing. She concludes by saying, “here we live In an old rumbling mansion, that looks for all the world like an inn…”. This is the first dramatic irony which is to set the stage for the subsequent mistakes in the unfolding of the plot.

Was it coincidental that Tony Lumpkins, the step sort or Mr. Hardcastle goes to the Three Pigeons, a local ale-house, to misdirect Young Marlow and Hastings by proclaiming that the house of Mr. Hardcastle is an inn? Young Marlow and Hastings take the description based on the first-hand information of Tony, a member of Hardcastles family. This accounts for their rudeness and vulgarity to the Hardcastles. Even Constance whom Hastings desires to marry is mistaken as an attendant or bar-maid. The same applies to Kate, the lady that is to be married to Young Marlow.

Apart from the instances of dramatic irony, aside is greatly employed by the writer. During the visit at Young Marlow and Hastings to the house of Mr. Hardcastle, the two gentlemen make use of aside in the play. Using this technique, the two friends indulge in such private talks aimed at deciding on how to address the “inn keeper’ Mr. Hardcastle, Young Marlow, Hastings etc. all use aside at one point or the other to convey their intentions.

The two techniques discussed above create suspense which is equally a very striking dramatic technique that is used in the play. For one thing, when Tony wrongly directs Young Marlow and Hastings to Hardcastle’s house as an inn, there is suspense because the reaction of Hardcastle and the behaviour of the visitors are no longer ascertained. Thus, a combination of those dramatic techniques written through beautiful dialogue enhances the quality of the play.

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