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The Rivals Essay | Critical Essay #2

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Critical Essay #2

In the following essay, Parker examines Sheri-dan's practice of "'absolute sense,' common sense tempered by mirth and softened by good nature," and it's place within eighteenth-century theater.

Sheridan has frequently been accused of trying to revive a moribund dramatic tradition, namely Restoration comedy. In these terms, he becomes a kind of second-hand Congreve, and not a very good one at that. Other critics, pointing to the sentiment in his plays, accuse him of being the very thing he supposedly ridicules, a sentimentalist. Neither of these accusations, which in effect try to put Sheridan's comedies snugly into one of two camps, takes into account what is now starting to become a critical commonplace: the Georgian period had its own view of comedy and, in its own way, developed the laughing tradition. Sheridan is no exception. At his best, he adapted the conventions of the past to his own...

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This section contains 3,455 words
(approx. 12 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Rivals Study Guide
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The Rivals from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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