Give a reasoned account of the role of Mrs. Hardcastle in the play.
Dorothy Hardcastle is a woman of questionable character. She is old but prefers anything new and modern. She has a son whose name is Tony Lumpkins, a child of her first marriage with Mr. Lumpkins. This Tony is spoilt and he blames his mother, Dorothy, for his moral bankruptcy. “Ecod, mother, all the parish says you have spoiled me, and so you may take the fruits on it’ Mrs. Hardcastle does not want to throw away their family resources in the training of Tony as she argues, “1 don’t think a boy wants much learning to spend fifteen hundred a year”(pg. 2).
She performs her occupational role of a wife and mother hut wrongly. Mrs. Hardcastle is perhaps the most dubious character in the play and this may account for her inability to exert enough influence to check her son’s excesses. She is very dubious. She wants to get Constance Neville to marry her son so that she could keep the lady’s costly jewels. When she suspects that Miss Neville may not marry Tony, she plans to steal the jewels. When Miss Neville asks for them, Mrs. Hardcastle replies, “…my dear Constance; if I could find them, you should have them. They’re missing…” To prove the woman’s insincerity, Constance has this to say: “…this is but a shallow pretense to deny me. I know they’re too valuable to be so slightly kept…” This goes a long way to show that Mrs. Hardcastle is a woman whose role/character is questionable in the play.