Themes in Oliver Goldsmith’s “She Stoops to Conquer”

Discuss any two themes in Oliver Goldsmith’s “She Stoops to Conquer”.

There are several themes in this play, “She Stoops to Conquer” by Oliver Goldsmith. Here, we shall examine the theme of love and the theme of deceit. In the first place, a touch of love is exemplified in the house of Mr. Hardcastle, His wife is Dorothy whose first unsuccessful marriage with Mr. Lumpkins has a near-prodigal son-Tony Lumpkins to its credit. Mr. hardcastle is motivated by the spirit of love to accommodate the rude and totally spoilt boy in his house. When Dorothy tries to impress it upon Hardcastle that their house is an old rumbling house which is more like an inn, Mr. Hardcastle responds thus: “And I love it. I love everything that’s old…I have pretty fond of an old wife”.(pg. 2)

Apart from the husband and wife love, mother and son, there is an aspect of love that is to be explored in the proposed marriage between Young Madow and Miss Kate Hardcastle. Again, Constance is very much in love with Mr. Hastings and they even plan to elope to France. Although not much is known about the parentage of Constance Neville references In the book reveal that she was so loved by her parents that they left for her an Inheritance; a lot of expensive jewels.

Another theme that is worthy of mention is the theme of deceit. Here, the worst offender is Tony Lumpkins. He deceives Young Marlow and Hastings to believe that Mr. Hardcastle’s house is an inn. It is based on the mistakes from this wrong description that the play derives its second title: The Mistakes of a Night. Again, Mrs. Hardcastle is not free from the game of deceit. She tells lies to Constance by removing her costly jewels and replacing them with cheap ones. She first thinks that her son- Tony will marry Constance, and when she sees that things are not going her way, she plans to cheat her by stealing her jewels. Based on the theme of deceit, the play is subtitled: “The Mistakes of a Night”.

Leave a Comment

not allowed!