The Critic Essay

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Moran is a secondary school teacher of English and American literature. In this essay, he examines the ways in which Sheridan's play parodies a number of tragic conventions.

In 1763, sixteen years before the premiere of The Critic, James Boswell co-authored a pamphlet in which he jeered at David Mallet's Elvira, a tragedy acted at the Drury Lane Theatre. Confessing to his friend Samuel Johnson that he felt somewhat guilty about the pamphlet, since he himself could not write a tragedy "near so good," Boswell received another impromptu lesson from his mentor that found its way into The Life of Samuel Johnson.

Why no, Sir; this is not just reasoning. You may abuse a tragedy, though you cannot write one. You may scold a carpenter who has made you a bad table, though you cannot make a table. It is not your trade to make tables.

Boswell's conscience may...

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This section contains 1,961 words
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The Critic from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.