She Stoops to Conquer


The play She Stoops to Conquer is both sentimental comedy and anti sentimental comdey. Elaborate.

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The title describes Goldsmith's purpose: he wishes to convince an audience to embrace this “low” or “laughing” comedy, and by indulging in it, he might convince them that it is superior to “sentimental” comedy. Though it is only explicitly referred to in the prologue, an understanding of Goldsmith's play in context shows his desire to reintroduce his audience to the “laughing comedy” that derived from a long history of comedy that mocks human vice. This type of comedy stands in contrast to the then-popular “sentimental comedy” that praised virtues and reinforced bourgeois mentality. Understanding Goldsmith's love of the former helps to clarify several elements of the play: the low scene in the Three Pigeons; the mockery of baseness in even the most high-bred characters; and the celebration of absurdity as a fact of human life.