School for scandal essay

When Richard Brinsley Sheridan wrote the play "The School for Scandal" in 1777, it was a satire of popular fashionable life. He managed to criticize society in a humorous way, by confronting the audience with a mirror image of themselves. Donatus defines comedy as `a copy of life, a mirror of custom, a reflection of truth' (cited in: Abrams, 1953, 32). The topic of scandal could be seen as such a mirror image, because scandal was rife in towns like London; moreover it was a kind of leisure activity for the higher classes.

The play consists of two main plots. The first one is about the relationship between Sir Peter Teazle and his wife. He is much older than Lady Teazle and not pleased about her changing behaviour. Lady Teazle was a simple country girl before she became Sir Peter's wife and now tries hard to become a member of the fashionable society she is confronted with through her marriage. This plot highlights the contrast between rural and urban life.

In order to reach her aim, Lady Teazle joins a group of malicious and slanderous people, headed by Lady Sneerwell, who is very interested in Charles Surface and wants to separate him from his relation to Maria, by spreading slander about him.

Charles and his brother Josef Surface are the topic of the second plot. Their rich uncle Sir Oliver arrives unexpectedly from Australia and hears such conflicting reports of his nephews and prospective heirs that he decides to look them over personally. He approaches Charles in the shape of Mr. Premium, a money lender and Joseph in the shape of Mr. Stanley, a poor relation begging help. These visitations reveal the real characters of both brothers, which in the end differ greatly from the expected ones. As Katherine Worth describ...

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...otypes and clichés rather than test character for themselves, as Sir Oliver does' (Worth, 1992, 156). Again, the metaphor of the mirror can be used to support this statement. Many people could see a reflection of themselves in the character of Joseph Surface. By confronting his audience with its own failings, Sheridan may have succeeded in making people laugh about themselves, but also made them reflect on their own behaviour.


Abrams, M. H. [1953] 1977. The Mirror and the Lamp. Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Moorwood, J. and Crane, D., eds., 1995. Sheridan Studies, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sheridan, . [1777] 1979. The School for Scandal, ed. by F. W. Bateson, London: New Mermaids, A. & C. Black.

Worth, K. 1992. Sheridan and Goldsmith, London: Macmillan.

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On March 9, 2013 The Boston Globe reported that Harvard searched 16 resident deans' email accounts seeking the source of a leaked email shortly after the scandal broke. [112] On March 11 Smith and Evelynn Hammonds confirmed the search in an official statement. [113] [114] One dean had forwarded the email to two students in their role as an advisor and it was redistributed, reaching The Harvard Crimson . [112] [113] [114] In light of a second leak of an Administrative Board meeting and with no explanations forthcoming, administrators approved the email search. [113] [114] Information technology staff searched the subject lines of the deans' staff email accounts. [112] [114] Only the dean responsible was notified about the search. [112] The statement said Senior Resident Dean Sharon Howell was also informed but she and an anonymous Harvard official said she was not. [113] The Faculty of Arts and Sciences privacy policy requires members to be "notified at the earliest possible opportunity." [112] The policy was partially due to suspected snooping by Harvard President Lawrence Summers . [112] It was not clear if resident deans are faculty or merely staff. [115] The search breaks the faculty policy but not the staff policy. [116] Faculty members reacted negatively to the search. [117] [118] [119] [120]

School for scandal essay

school for scandal essay


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