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by Charles N. Fifer,George Farquhar
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Dramas & Plays
  • Author:
    Charles N. Fifer,George Farquhar
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  • Publisher:
    University of Nebraska Press (December 1, 1977)
  • Pages:
    145 pages
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    Dramas & Plays
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    1331 kb
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Comparative Drama is a scholarly journal devoted to studies international in spirit and interdisciplinary in scope. The Beaux' Stratagem. Regents Restoration Drama Series by George Farquhar, Charles N. Fifer (pp. 175-178).

George Farquhar (1677 – 29 April 1707) was an Irish dramatist. He is noted for his contributions to late Restoration comedy, particularly for his plays The Recruiting Officer (1706) and The Beaux' Stratagem (1707). Born in Derry, Farquhar was one of seven children born to William Farquhar, a clergyman of modest means.

Title: The Beaux-Stratagem. Author: George Farquhar. Thus was The Beaux-Stratagem written

Title: The Beaux-Stratagem. Release Date: May 5, 2007 Last Updated: January 26, 2013. Thus was The Beaux-Stratagem written. Her last husband, Sir Charles Bountiful, left her worth a thousand pound, a year; and, I believe, she lays out one-half on't in charitable uses for the good of her neighbours.

The Beaux Stratagem book. The latter pretends to be the servant of the form George Farquhar was a late Restoration English playwright who died young and produced relatively few plays, of which this is one. In fact, he was Irish by birth but worked in London. The play was first performed there in 1707.

In this new edition, The Beaux' Stratagem is seen as a traditional work, combining characteristics of the Restoration comedy of manners with those of the more conventionally moral comedy that followed. Mr. Fifer discusses the numerous alterations made in the text during the century, many of which eliminated racy dialogue or diminished the importance of the marriage-divorce theme. Farquhar's views on divorce were influenced by Milton; he is also concerned here with the conflict between virtue and vice, and with the importance of money and its influence on personal freedom. Based on a collation of eight copies of the first quarto, this edition includes extensive discussion of text and stage history.

This ribbald comedy was written three hundred years ago and it remains fresh and funny. It is populated by such characters as the gentlemen of broken fortunes, Aimwell and Archer, a country blockhead, Sullen, who despises his perfectly delightful wife, highwaymen named Gibbet and Bagshot, a servant named Scrub, a country gentlewoman named Lady Bountiful, and an inkeeper's beautiful daughter, Cherry. You start smiling while still reading the Cast of Characters. The language is a delight, as when Mrs. Sullen cautions her husband's servant, while he's shaving her husband's head, "Have a care of coming near his temples, Scrub, for fear you meet something there that may turn the edge of your razor...inveterate stupidity." Lady Sullen ups the stakes when she determines that "one way to rouse my lethargic, sottish husband is to give him a rival. Security begets negligence in all people, and men must be alarmed to make 'em alert in their duty." When Squire Sullen catches wind of the plot, his response is embarrassment: "Don't think my anger proceeds from any concern I have of your honor, but for my own, and if you can contrive any way of being a whore without making me a cuckhold, do it and welcome." To which his wife responds, "Sir, I thank you kindly; you would allow me the sin but rob me of the pleasure."

This is a forward-thinking play for women's rights, too. Mrs. Sullen puts the woman's situation in perspective: "Were I born an humble Turk, where women have no soul nor property, there I must sit contented. But in England, a country whose women are its glory, must women be abused? Where women rule [a reference to the queen], must women be enslaved?" The plot considerably thickens when the broken gentleman who volunteers to rob Mrs. Sullen falls in love with her.

In the end we learn from the one upstanding character, Sir Charles, that "Truth, sir, is a profound sea, and few there be that dare wade deep enough to find out the bottom on't."

Hats off to Michael Kahn, Artistic Director of The Shakespeare Theater, in Washington, DC, for dusting off this play for our generation.
Many people reference George Farquhar's THE BEAUX STRATAGEM without ever realizing it: the play introduced a character named Lady Bountiful, a wealthy woman determined to do good to her neighbors whether they like it or not. The name and the character were instantly iconographic and have remained so for over three hundred years.

George Farquhar (c. 1677-1707) studied theology--but when it put a crimp in his style he left the classroom for the stage. Accounts of his acting skills vary, but he was good enough to injure a fellow player during a duel scene and thereafter decided he was better off writing plays than acting in them. THE BEAUX STRATAGEM was both his final and best-recalled play, a slightly bawdy mixture of Restoration ideas and well-worn but entertaining notions.

The story is both contrived and clever. Aimwell and Archer are con men, posting as master and servant as they drift from town to town in seach of wealthy and foolish women to seduce and rob. But they meet their match in more ways than one when they arrive in Lichfield, where Aimwell is genuinely smitten by Dorinda and Archer takes up with unhappily married Mrs. Sullen--while Dorinda's mother, the legendary Lady Bountiful, does her level best to inflict good deeds upon everyone in sight.

THE BEAUX STRATAGEM is not generally considered on a par with such works as Congreve's THE WAY OF THE WORLD or Sheridan's THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL; the language is simpler, the plot more obvious, the humor less refined. But for those very reasons it is actually somewhat more accessible to the casual reader than these more celebrated titles. Not first rank? Perhaps not, but no less enjoyable for it. Recommended.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
This version turned out to be very small with a very small type-set. However, I was more disappointed about the fact that the binding gave out about halfway through and most of the pages were loose by the time I had finished reading it ONCE. It is now bound by a rubber band.