Until the era of Wilde and Shaw, only Shakespeare’s plays had held the stage better than Sheridan’s. The two comedies of manners have fared better over time than have the two more specialized works, perhaps because their attractions are apparent even in printed form and perhaps because changes of taste have gone against the specialized works.
The topical allusions in In recent times, Sheridan’s reputation has waned: His “artificial” comedies lack the high seriousness that the modern age demands.
Malaprop, Joseph Surface, Lady Teazle, and Sir Fretful Plagiary.
One reason why Sheridan does not seem dated is his language, a distinctly modern prose idiom, supple, utilitarian, informal, expressing the hopeful coherence of the early modern era.
Yet the basis of his appeal remains: effective theater embodied in smooth traditional plots, stock characters fleshed out by Sheridan’s observations of his time, and some of the wittiest dialogue ever written.
Essays On Sheridan'S School For Scandal
Sheridan has never been known for the originality of his plots and characters, some of which can be traced through Shakespeare and Jonson all the way back to Roman comedy, but—like Shakespeare and Jonson—he had the assimilative genius to transform the old into something lively and new.Richard Brinsley Sheridan (30 October 1751 – 7 July 1816) was the best playwright of eighteenth century England, a time of great actors rather than great playwrights.Judged on theatrical rather than strictly literary merit, Sheridan also ranks with the best English writers of comedy: William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, William Congreve, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw.Same thing about his plays.” This is the establishment Sheridan safely tucked away in the Poets’ Corner.There is also, however, an antiestablishment Sheridan—the penniless child suffering at Harrow, the spirited young man dueling for his girl, the member of Parliament sympathizing with the American and French revolutions, whose servants in his plays are smarter than their masters.A poor Irish actor’s son, he always wanted to hobnob with the rich and powerful, to be part of, whose attitudes he reflects in his plays.There was something calculating, something insincere and insubstantial, about the fellow.True, Sheridan’s leading characters are usually gentry or better, and Sheridan usually exhibits the doings of.In addition, he does not issue a clarion call for revolution and the institution of a republic.Sheridan’s achievement is even more impressive when one considers that he wrote all of his plays (except for the adaptation of Pizarro) during a period of five years when he was in his mid-twenties and during a period of severe restrictions on the theater.The upper- and upper-middle-class establishment controlled the theater with an iron grip through limitations on the number of theaters, official censorship, and the unofficial censorship of its tastes.