Written and published in 1777, the play The School for Scandal is considered by many to be the greatest comedy of manners.
Written by the Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the play became successful almost immediately and is a perfect example of Restoration literature. The play presents comic situations and abounds in sexual references. Instead of portraying a pure society like in the Puritan literature, the play presents corrupt people, who like to gossip and who only look out for themselves.
The title of the play is suggestive, as it foreshadows the general direction that the plot will take, as well as its major theme. The whole play is a satirical portrayal of the British society of the 18th century, and of the lengths one is willing to go to in order to get what one wants.
Some of the characters' names point to their major "flaw," thereby giving us a direct description of them.
The play has been adapted to film numerous times; it was first produced as a British silent film in 1923.