The treatment of social classes in:
She stoop to conquer by Oliver Goldsmith
The social class theme is central. The decisions the characters make and how they see one another, are all largely based on what class they belong to. From the very beginning the author shows, a very class-conscious Mrs. Hardcastle. In act 1 she says to her husband “…I vow, Mr. Hardcastle, you're very particular. Is there a creature in the whole country but ourselves, that does not take a trip to town now and then, to rub off the rust a little?” (Goldsmith, 1773). She seems unsatisfied with her simple and appeasable life in the country. In the opposite side there is Mr. Hardcastle who strongly criticizes the snobbery of the average Londoner “What a quantity of superfluous silk hast thou got about thee, girl! I could never teach the fools of this age, that the indigent world could be clothed out of the trimmings of the vain.” (Goldsmith, 1773). Tony Lumpkin is loveable character who dislikes the dictatorship of social class. He prefers drinking at the alehouse with his lowlife friends and prefers Bet Bouncer, the barmaid, to Constance Neville. He states in the play " Ecod, and when I'm of age, I'll be no bastard, I promise you. I have been thinking of Bet Bouncer and the miller's grey mare to begin with " (Goldsmith, 1773).Also he despises Constance He would do anything to escape the arranged marriage and actually he does. Tony loves low class characters in the Three Pigeons Marlow on the other hand must hide his love to low class character. The people who are pranked and ridicule are Mr. Marlow and Hastings two Londoner upper-class stereotypes apart from Mr. and Mrs. Hardcastle, we can see with this Goldsmith’s bias to the lower classes Although Mr. Hardcastle is not the most discriminating character, he is upper class. So he lectures Diggory on how to behave in front of the distinguish guests “You must not be so talkative, Diggory. You must be all attention to the guests. You must hear us talk, and not think of talking; you must see us drink, and not think of drinking; you must see us eat, and not think of eating.” (Goldsmith, 1773). Goldsmith shows that it is the perfect norm for people of the upper class to treat the lower class in a certain way and it is also being accepted by the lower class themselves. Marlow and Hastings arrive to the manor mistaken for an inn (thanks to Tony Lumpkin). They completely disrespect Mr. Hardcastle believe him a lower class innkeeper, for instance insulting his food MARLOW. (Reading.) For the first course, at the top, a pig and prune sauce.
HASTINGS. Damn your pig, I say.
MARLOW. And damn your prune sauce, say I.
HARDCASTLE. And yet, gentlemen, to men that are hungry, pig with prune sauce is very good eating.
MARLOW. At the bottom, a calf's tongue and brains.
HASTINGS. Let your brains be knocked out, my good sir, I don't like them.
MARLOW. Or you may clap them on a plate by themselves. I do.
HARDCASTLE. (Aside.) Their impudence confounds me. (To them.) Gentlemen, you are my guests, make what alterations you please. Is there anything else you wish to retrench or alter, gentlemen? (Goldsmith,1773, p18) They find him impudent and absurd, because they believe him to be a low class landlord. They wouldn’t treat him this way is they knew the truth Mrs. Hardcastle is the character with the strongest class consciousness and also the most ridiculed because of that. She is always talking about the city and she has never been into the city. As we see in the next extract when she talks to Mr. Hasting: MRS. HARDCASTLE. O! sir, you're only pleased to say so. We country persons can have no manner at all. I'm in love with the town, and that serves to raise me above some of our neighbouring rustics; but who can have a manner, that has never seen the Pantheon, the Grotto Gardens, the Borough, and such places where the nobility chiefly resort? All I can do is to enjoy London at...
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