The Rivals

The Rivals Imagery

Lydia Languish

It is rather appropriate that a character named Lydia Languish loves nothing more than lying on the sofa and reading romance novels. When we first see her, she is the archetypal image of a dreamy romantic teenager who comes from privilege, caught up in her imagination about what true love ought to look like.


On his way to the duel, Jack runs into his father, and lies about where he is going, but when his sword falls out of his jacket, it is clear that he is on his way to a duel.

Lydia turned away

When Anthony and Mrs. Malaprop bring Jack to "meet" Lydia for the first time, she is so smitten with "Ensign Beverley" and so determined not to like Jack Absolute that she turns her face away from the door and refuses to look at him. This choreography only heightens the dramatic irony of the fact that Jack and Beverley are the same person, but Lydia has no idea.

The Epilogue

After the play is over, an actress, who is meant to represent the "Muse," delivers a monologue to the audience. This is a moment that is suspended in time, unconnected to the action of the play. She tells the audience that the moral of the story is that love is the most important thing in the world, and that women are especially influential when it comes to swaying the heart of men. It also is a parallel image to the prologue delivered by the "Muse" in the beginning of the play. It is a moment in which an actor speaks directly to the audience, leading them through a moral lesson and asking for their patience and appreciation.