Many of the stories from the Restoration and Augustan playwrights juxtapose two storylines; The Belle's Stratagem is no different. The two plotlines are Letitia Hardy's ingenious scheme to entrap and win the heart of her arranged husband, Doricourt, and the marital problems of the insanely jealous Sir George Touchwood and his wife, the sheltered and beautiful Lady Frances. Both plots focus on men learning to respect women; however, there is added depth to this story, as it is also layered with questions about identity and feminism. The role of the masquerade as a metaphor for the many masks women must wear within society becomes an important element in both plotlines.
The Belle's Stratagem