Deconstruction In The School For Scandal

The purpose of satiric comedy was to overthrow the societal constructions, harmonizing to the Glossary, satiric comedy “ ridicules political policies or philosophical philosophies, or else onslaughts divergences from the societal order by doing pathetic the lawbreakers of its criterions of ethical motives or manners ” ( Abrams 39 ) . Thus the first purpose of sarcasm in general is to “ deconstruct ” the societal and political buildings ; this was practiced by Aristophanes, and in the Renaissance by Ben Jonson. The comedy of manners originated by Menander, paved the manner for Restoration comedy which was ripened by the Gallic playwright Moliere. After the popularity of Restoration comedy in England in 18th century, the sentimental comedy started to rule the phase as a reaction against what was supposed as immorality of Restoration comedy, but still two major playwrights continued composing in Restoration comedies: Oliver Goldsmith ‘s She Stoops to Conquer and his modern-day Richard Brinsley Sheridan ‘s The School for Scandal. Among the two, Sheridan ‘s drama satirizes non merely the upper-class societal construction but besides the contents of sentimental play itself.

The drama shows a duality of good and bad in 18th century society and that how the sentimental codifications of behaviour has limited the good/evil double star into a level pretense: this duality is depicted as the Surface brothers: as their names suggest they are judged merely harmonizing to their exterior and surface behaviour: in the first scene Miss Verjuice describes the two brothers, Joseph and Charles Surface, this manner:

here are two immature work forces — to whom Sir Peter has acted as a sort

of Guardian since their Father ‘s decease, the eldest possessing

the most good-humored Fictional character and universally good spoken of,

the youngest the most debauched and excessive immature Chap

in the Kingdom, without Friends or character ( I: I )

through the following lines it is revealed that the senior brother, Joseph, who has seemingly “ the most good-humored Fictional character ” has conspired a secret plan with lady Sneerwell to come between the love relationship of Charles and Maria ( Sir Peter ‘s ward ) so that Joseph can get married Maria and Lady Sneerwll, a widow, can possess the immature Charles who is now belly-up. Lady Sneerwell explains about Joseph: “ His existent fond regard is to Maria or her Fortune — /but happening in his Brother a favoured Rival, He has been obliged/to mask his Pretensions — and net income by my Aid. ” And so confesses her desire for Charles:

“ aˆ¦must I confess that Charles — that Libertine, that

extravagant, that Bankrupt in Fortune and Reputation — that He

it is for whom I am therefore dying and malicious and to derive whom

I would sacrifice-everything ” ( I: I )

From these confessions the reader knows that Joseph who is universally good spoken of is a fraud, but since he is a good “ Pretender ” and knows what the society demands to move as an honest adult male, so he is seen by everybody even those who know he is feigning as “ a adult male of sentiment ” .

LADY SNEERWELL. aˆ¦ I have found out

him a long clip since, altho ‘ He has contrived to lead on

everybody beside — I know him to be disingenuous selfish and malicious —

while with Sir Peter, and so with all his familiarity,

He passes for a vernal Miracle of Prudence — good sense

and Benevolence.

VERJUICE. Yes yes — I know Sir Peter vows He has non his equal

in England ; and, above all, He praises him as a MAN OF SENTIMENT.

LADY SNEERWELL. True and with the aid of his sentiments

and lip service he has brought Sir Peter wholly in his involvements

with regard to Maria and is now I believe trying to blandish

Lady Teazle into the same good sentiment towards him — while hapless

Charles has no Friend in the House — though I fear he has a powerful

one in Maria ‘s Heart, against whom we must direct our strategies.

In the following scene, Rowley informs Sir Peter that Sir Oliver has arrived from the West Indies and is in the town ; Sir Oliver, the brothers ‘ uncle wants to take his hair, therefore he is to come and see his nephews whom has non seen him since childhood and therefore can non acknowledge him by visual aspect. From their treatment it is clear that it is merely Rowley that sees through the two gentlemen:

ROWLEY. You know Sir Peter I have ever taken the Liberty to differ

with you on the topic of these two immature Gentlemen — I merely wish

you may non be deceived in your sentiment of the senior. For Charles,

my life o n’t! He will recover his mistakes yet — their worthy Father,

one time my honor ‘d get the hang, was at his old ages about every bit wild a flicker. ( I: two )

But even Sir Peter can non deny the importance of the codifications of sentiment for a immature adult male

Joseph is so a theoretical account

for the immature work forces of the Age — He is a adult male of Sentiment — and acts up

to the Sentiments he professes — but for the other, take my word

for’t if he had any grain of Virtue by descent — he has dissipated it

with the remainder of his heritage. ( I: two )

Changing visual aspects one time once more enables the characters: this clip Sir Oliver, who has decided to set his nephews on a test, is set to run into Charles as Premium, a agent. When they meet, Charles proposes selling his ascendant ‘s portrayals to the agent for deriving money ; this makes Sir Oliver ferocious, but Charles ‘ denial of selling Sir Oliver ‘s ain portrayal even for eight hundred lbs ; under the mask of a agent, Sir Oliver understands the sort nature of his nephew:

CHARLES. No, hang it! I ‘ll non portion with hapless Noll. The old chap

has been really good to me, and, egad, I ‘ll maintain his image while I ‘ve

a room to set it in.

SIR OLIVER. [ Aside. ] The knave ‘s my nephew after all!

Contrary to the supposed societal values of an honest adult male in 18th century, here Sheridan Lashkar-e-Taiba ‘s the audience have faith on a slack adult male who contrary to a adult male of sentiment, “ loves vino and adult females ” and puts his ascendants on an auction for money. He shifts the double stars of good/evil, moral/immoral, gentleman/rogue by giving properties of one to the other and frailty versa.

Merely as visual aspects can be utile for Pretenders such as Joseph, Sheridan makes a amusing scene in unveiling of visual aspects in the celebrated library scene in act 4 scene three ; Joseph who in secret woos Sir Peter ‘s immature married woman, Lady Teazle, hides her behind a screen when Sir Peter enters out of the blue, stating Joseph that he thinks his married woman has an matter with Charles, the following visitant is Charles himself, Sir Peter besides hides in the cupboard to hear his reaction to what he is accused of. Sir Peter comes out of the cupboard when he understands that Charles is guiltless and when Joseph goes out, Tells Charles that Joseph has a miss, a Gallic Milliner, with himself who is now in this room ; Charles gets funny to see her and unveils the screen: to their amazement it is Lady Teazle standing at that place. Charles asks each of them to explicate the state of affairs:

CHARLES. Sir Peter — This is one of the smartest Gallic Hatmakers

I of all time saw! — Egad, you seem all to hold been deviating yourselves

here at Hide and Seek — and I do n’t see who is out of the Secret! —

Shall I beg your Ladyship to inform me! — Not a word! — Brother! —

will you delight to explicate this affair? What! is Honesty Dumb excessively? —

Sir Peter, though I found you in the Dark — possibly you are non so

now — all deaf-and-dumb person! Well tho ‘ I can do nil of the Affair, I make

no uncertainty but you absolutely understand one another — so I ‘ll go forth you

to yourselves. — [ Going. ] Brother I ‘m regretful to happen you hold given

that worthy adult male evidences for so much edginess! — Sir Peter — there ‘s

nil in the universe so baronial as a adult male of Sentiment! – ( IV: three )

Charles ‘ comparing of the state of affairs to a game ( fell and seek ) is a insurgent expression at the upper-class society of the clip ; proposing the fact that all these people of sentiment all playing functions in the game, and that when being found out by others they lose the game since their supposed aristocracy is gone. They are nice, righteous chaps every bit long as they are hidden, and when they are found the game is over and at the same time their self-respect is over. This is the deconstructive position of a supposed baronial society and this is what Sheridan predicts for Pretenders of his clip. The sarcasm found in Charles ‘ witty remark to Sir Peter: “ there’s/nothing in the universe so baronial as a adult male of Sentiment! ” hints the audience every bit good as Sir Peter and people who thinks like him, that the “ statement ” is a null pretense, merely a tool for scoundrels to move out as a aristocracy.

The chief centre of the construction of societal moralss and rules which is “ sentiment ” is wholly decentered and deconstructed when Sir Oliver encounters this clip Joseph: “ But now I am no more/a Broker, and you shall present me to the senior Brother/as Stanley ” . Once once more borrowing another individuality, ( of Stanley a hapless relation of the brothers ‘ female parents ) , Sir Oliver is to prove Joseph, who unaware of the true individuality of his comrade, does non move his sentiments and declares that his uncle Oliver has done nil for him:

SURFACE. My beloved Sir — you are queerly misinformed — Sir Oliver

is a worthy Man, a worthy adult male — a really worthy kind of Man — but greed

Mr. Stanley is the frailty of age — I will state you my good Sir in

assurance: — what he has done for me has been a mere — nil ;

Tho ‘ Peoples I know have thought otherwise and for my Part I ne’er

chose to belie the Report.

SIR OLIVER. What! — has he ne’er transmitted — you — Bullion — Rupees —


SURFACE. O Dear Sir — Nothing of the sort — no — no — a few Presents

now and so — China, shawls, Congo Tea, Avadavats — and Indian

Crackers — little more, believe me.

SIR OLIVER. Here ‘s Gratitude for 12 thousand lbs! —

Avadavats and Indian Crackers. ( V: I )

Joseph even refuses giving money to the supposed Mr. Stanley who has come for borrowing money and alternatively flatters himself for what he has done for “ that unfortunate immature adult male ” and accuses Charles of being excessive. Later Sir Oliver and Rowley, cognizing what Joseph has done to Sir Peter badger his thoughts of “ sentiment ” .

SIR OLIVER. aˆ¦I come merely to state you,

that I have seen both my Nephew in the mode we proposed.

SIR PETER. A Cherished Couple they are!

ROWLEY. Yes and Sir Oliver — is convinced that your judgement was right

Sir Peter.

SIR OLIVER. Yes I find Joseph is Indeed the Man after all.

ROWLEY. Aye as Sir Peter says, He ‘s a adult male of Sentiment.

SIR OLIVER. And acts up to the Sentiments he professes.

ROWLEY. It surely is Edification to hear him speak.

SIR OLIVER. Oh, He ‘s a theoretical account for the immature work forces of the age!

But how ‘s this, Sir Peter? you do n’t Join us in your Friend

Joseph ‘s Praise as I expected.

SIR PETER. Sir Oliver, we live in a damned wicked universe,

and the fewer we praise the better. ( V: two )

The supposed double stars of good/evil that are now broken and it is non easy allow to name one as good and the other as bad explains how the nonnatural sense of “ sentiment ” was decenterd by Sheridan at the clip. As Jacque Derrida proposed the double stars can be meaningful in a relation of “ difference ” that is we know ruddy is ruddy because it is different from bluish. In this play, Sheridan pictures that the difference between good and evil, honest and dishonest, moral and immoral has turned into a delusory drama of visual aspects. For 18th century people, a individual was good, because he did non chance, imbibe, and did non tribunal adult females. At the same clip a individual is evil since he did non act morally and harmonizing to the defined sentiments. Sheridan wishes to alter the attitude of the audience ; to propose that the standard of “ difference ” for judging between good and evil is non right.

Joseph is depicted as the prototype of the society ‘s lip service, he is known by his friends who act in the same manner


LADY SNEERWELL. O Lud you are traveling to be moral, and bury

that you are among Friends.

SURFACE. Egad, that ‘s true — I ‘ll maintain that sentiment boulder clay I see

Sir Peter.

It seems that being hypocritical is the manner of the epoch and if one does non follow this manner he is ruined as Charles was traveling to be ruined before his uncle ‘s reaching. The set of individuals whose major undertaking is to speak behind people and “ ruin characters ” create this school for dirt whose president as Sir Peter declares is Lady Sneerwell. Sir Peter ‘s amazement implies how unsafe the consequence of their assembly could be:

SIR PETER. aˆ¦Mercy on me — here is the whole set!

a character ‘s dead at every word, I suppose. ( II: two )

Mrs. Candour, Benjamin Backbite and Crabtree assist her in this joyful concern ; they have clip to include everybody in their malevolent conversations ; as Mrs. Candour says “ the world/is so censorious no character escapes. ”

They know that Charles is no adult male of pretense, and because of this they call him a suffering dirt in comparing to his brother. As Derrida surveies the double stars, he claims that each binary resistance is a hierarchy, because ever “ one term in the brace is privileged or considered superior to the other ” ( Tyson 254 ) . Hence, if one finds the binary resistances in a civilization and at the same clip identifies the privileged 1 in the brace, one can detect something about the political orientation of that civilization. In this instance in the double star of good/evil, the privileged is good, but the job is that, “ good ” and “ evil ” are arbitrary constructs. What the 18th century upper-class society understood as “ good ” were merely a set of sentiments that were practiced through visual aspects. And what they recognized as immorality, were once more a set of behaviours that were announced universally as immorality by the ideological setups.

What Sheridan does in his drama, is to dispute the head of the audience to rethink about the construction of these pre-established double stars and their ideological hierarchies hidden behind them and to seek to deconstruct these constructions in every person ‘s comprehension. Drinking and flirting adult females and borrowing money from loan sharks can non be an appropriate standard for judging people as “ evil ” and “ immoral ” while good sticking to the stylish norms of behaviour of the clip and the moral sentiments can non be a right step for gauging a character as “ good ” . He besides compares the state of affairs of a alleged good individual to an histrion who plays games and acts out functions by altering visual aspects and therefore is a cheat and a Pretender. This is the great deconstruction of societal political orientations absolutely done by Restoration comedies such as The School for Scandal.