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theme of “The Beaux’ Stratagem”, by George Farquhar, is to show the significance of the country setting in the reformation of two misguided rogues. In addition, the purpose of the play is to show the value of consent in marriage, and sincerity in life for two main characters, Aimwell and Archer. The plot of “The Beaux’ Stratagem” shows how Aimwell and Archer are reformed by sincere love and affection. Specifically, in Act V. iv, Aimwell cannot hurt Dorinda (lines 20-23). Along with sincerity, consent is also a notable attribute expressed in the play. In the last words of the play, Archer says, “Consent, if mutual saves the lawyer’s fee, Consent is law enough to set you free” (Act V. iv. lines 310-311). This line shows a lighthearted approach to a serious human condition of distrust and adultery. As is evident in Act V. iv, Dorinda and Aimwell have sincere love for each other. In this scene, Dorinda says her love had “no aim but love” (lines 39-43). Her words are a pun on Aimwell’s name, which is to say although Aimwell had corrupt intentions, to take Dorinda’s money; he is not evil like Gibbet, the highway robber. Aimwell tried to hit the object of his affection with good intentions, he meant to “aim-well.” This is a good name for the character since sincerity is a virtue expressed in “The Beaux’ Stratagem.” Sincerity is important because no matter what the character does, if he or she is sincere in their endeavors then they will be rewarded according to the degree of their sincerity. In other words, Aimwell liked Dorinda for her money and deceived her. His
which contained a witty character. as a prostitute in cheating Archer and Aimwell out of there remaining cash. The Sullens were married without the consent of the woman. it was important to treat others with respect because society was based on mutual respect. His true intentions. Therefore. then at least they were both sincere in their affection for one another. Successful indicates happiness gained in proportion to the amount and degree of sincerity. If not. however. In such a society. According to the play’s structure. Farquhar’s audience upheld sincerity as an integral part of an advanced society. Aimwell is reformed by her sincere affection for him. The sincerity between Aimwell and Dorinda directly contrasts the deceptive innkeeper. The plot suggests that it is important to prove one’s true intentions in every moment of life. while perpetrating affection for Dorinda. “The Beaux’ Stratagem” has a moral purpose suggesting that sincerity in all of one’s actions guarantees a successful life. and they consented in their love. life was taken more seriously than in previous plays we have read in class. Aimwell and Dorinda agree to love and respect each other. Cherry. They agree to divorce because both of them will be . who is supposed to have good intentions and help the weary traveler. (Act I. This sincerity contrasts with previous British culture dominate by witty humor at the expense of another person. known as the “fop”. 343-345). are to use his daughter. i. the popular culture in England during the eighteenth century was based on sincerity. Sincerity is a dominant theme in the play because the audience supposes that Aimwell and Dorinda have a happy life together. However. Another example of consent in married life is the Sullens’ consent to divorce.Inglese 2 deception was not meant to hurt her but to gain her money.
the divorce scene shows that women are capable of divorce. Sullen consent in their relationship. the innkeeper. This is the first play that we have read in class that has a divorce scene. rugged and primitive. Sincerity is the moral theme of the play. Sincerity and consent are portrayed in a rural setting. The country roads are portrayed as rough and dangerous to travel with the inclusion of highwaymen like Gibbet. The audience is aware of the drama involved in the divorce scene of the Sullens. This is important because rural characters are portrayed as sincere and wholesome. keeps company with Gibbet. which contrasts with other plays that portray rural women as promiscuous. showing that a marriage of two consenting adults has the likelihood of happier outcomes. during this time in England. Archer is ashamed to love or marry an . but the location of the play is also crucial. In other words.Inglese 3 happier and their subsequent divorce proves that marriage without consent has the propensity for disaster. marital consent was not mutual because a third party usually arranged marriages. In previous plays divorce was not an option for an unhappy married woman. This is notable because this is the first play that we have read in class that is completely set in the country. and Cherry. The purpose of the divorce scenario is to show the emerging role of women in society. In addition. Other rural characteristics are portrayed through such characters as Gibbet. The Inn is supposed to be a safe place for weary travelers but Bonniface. Aimwell changes from a cynical rogue to a new type of hero because his soul is touched by Dorinda’s sincere love for him. i. In addition. In Act III. The country setting in “The Beaux’ Stratagem” is significant because the city dwellers view the country as very harsh. Archer and Mrs. “The Beaux’ Stratagem” shows the importance of a country setting in the reformation of Aimwell and Archer.
In the storyline we learn that Archer and Aimwell are escaping unknown troubles in London. . For city dwellers. indicating that a city person does not want to marry a country girl (line 225). In addition. The countryside is not only a dreadful place. Archer and Aimwell want to enjoy the best of life without any responsibilities. Aimwell becomes benevolent by giving newly gained money to Archer so he can ransom Mrs. He is willing to marry Dorinda but not Cherry. they give into their senses by falling in love. the characters represent the potential for diversity in a rural area. this is the first play that we have read which is set in the country. eventually. Dorinda is the symbol of goodness and Aimwell cannot harm her or steal her money because she is wholesome.Inglese 4 innkeepers daughter. as stated earlier. who are reformed in the country. Sullen. The country is stereotypically portrayed as a dreadful place for a city dweller. These are examples of Aimwell and Archer’s reformation from deceitfulness to benevolence. They speak of the importance of controlling the senses (Act I. i lines 197-265) but. but it is a haven for Archer and Aimwell. Their goal is to find an heiress. the country has a way of bringing people back to their senses. we see the emergence of a different understanding of rural life in eighteenth century England. since. They are portrayed as deceitful and immoral because they plan to defraud the country folks in Litchfield and if the fraud does not work then they will join the army. marry her and take her money. the thought of going to the country is repulsive (Act II. This is a very cynical plot but Aimwell and Archer are reformed in the end. i 46-60). In this play. However.
in reality. For example. much like the general opinion of the countryside today.S.Inglese 5 There are a variety of characters residing in the country. Sullen divorces Sullen. I 29-185). Sullen. Sullen remarks that the poets were poor and could not afford to live in the city (Act II. and all of this occurs in the country. when she assists Aimwell in his false fainting spell. but the plots are more intimate than city plots because everyone knows each other. .A. she expects pleasures for her dowry given to Mr. Sullen. This means that the country is portrayed as a fantasy in poetry but. Therefore. In conclusion. She does not expect to do hard work on a farm. In the U. rather. She has a rugged command of scenarios. which is a place of redemption for Aimwell and Archer. Dorinda says poets take pleasure in the country and Mrs. in “The Beaux’ Stratagem” Mrs. the last line of the play expresses the purpose of the entire plot because consent and sincerity create a happy conclusion. one of which is Mrs. The plot shows that the country has complicated and exciting events. people either view rural America as a heavenly place where nothing ever happens. enjoys Archer’s company. rough life. or as a dreadful place because of that same reason. it is an unrefined. a high maintenance woman. and Aimwell and Dorinda have mutual love as well. Lady Bountiful is trying hard to help other people. Therefore. i. there is a fond view of the country. as in Act IV.
Project Gutenberg. Kairoff April 1.htm Dominick Inglese English 336 Prof.org/files/21334/21334-h/21334-h. The Beaux’ Stratagem. http://www.gutenberg. George. 2003 . Web.Inglese 6 Work Cited: Farquhar.
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