Joseph is Charles’ brother, cunning and ambitious. He wants to marry Maria because of her money, and he plots with Lady Sneerwell to make this happen. He is promiscuous and propositions Lady Teazle to have an affair. He loves money and he refuses to help his poor relative, Stanley (really Sir Oliver in disguise), telling him that he has no money, even though this in not true.
Charles is one of Sir Oliver’s nephews, madly in love with Maria. He is a young man who likes to spend money; he has a kind heart and is open about his flaws. He is grateful for the help his uncle provides and refuses to sell his portrait out of respect even when Mr. Premium (really Sir Oliver in disguise) offers to pay a fortune for it. Because of this, Charles is considered to be the worthy nephew.
Sir Oliver Surface
Sir Oliver is Charles and Joseph’s rich uncle, who has been in the East Indies for a long time. He sent his nephews money while he was away; once he returns, he wants to find out more about their true character in order to determine who is worthy to get his inheritance. To do this, he assumes the identities of Mr. Premium and Stanley to test them. He is kind and vigilant, not believing everything he hears about Charles and Joseph.
Sir Peter (Pete) Teazle
Sir Pete is an old gentlemen, very rich, who marries a young girl. He takes Joseph’s side and tells Sir Oliver about Charles’ behavior. He wants to separate from his wife because he thinks that she spends too much money; in the separation, he is willing to let her a large sum of money as a form of compensation. Ultimately, however, he decides against breaking up with his wife, and tries to reconcile with her.
She is Sir Pete’s young wife, described as very beautiful but vain, with a passion for having fashionable clothes. She and her husband have their little arguments and Lady Teazle thinks about having an affair with Joseph; however, she decides against it when she hears her husband talking about the money he intends to leave her.
Maria is a young girl, one of the only characters who doesn’t like to gossip. She can be viewed as a symbol for what is pure and good. She loves Charles, but Joseph tries to break them up; he almost succeeds when rumors are spread about an affair between Lady Sneerwell and Charles.
Lady Sneerwell is a widow, a wealthy woman who likes Charles and who is willing to do anything to break up Charles and Maria. She finds an ally in Joseph, and together they start to scheme. She is known for her tendency to spread rumors; because of this, she is very popular in her social circle.
She is one of Lady Sneerwell’s friends who also likes to spread rumors. She is a hypocrite because she affirms that spreading rumors is bad, even though she does this too.
She is Lady Sneerwell’s servant who helps her by spreading her rumors.
He is one of Charles’ money lenders, who helps Sir Oliver get in touch with his nephew.
The School for Scandal Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The School for Scandal is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.