William Blake and The Rivals

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Freedom

  • Blake sees this as freedom from poverty and the abiltiy to have an imagination 
  • Sheridan sees it as freedom from authoritative parents and the restraints of sentimentalism
  • Chimney Sweeper - sweeps gain freedom from poverty through thier imagination
    • 'and by came an angel with a bright key'
    • 'down a green plain, leaping and laughing they run, and wash in a river and shine in the sun'
  • Nurse's Song Innocence  - children are allowed to play until dark - happy as a result of lack of authority
    • 'The little ones leaped and shouted and laughed and all the hills echoed'
  • Jack - freedom is independence to marry who he chooses 
    • 'saddled with a wife'
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Freedom

  • Lydia - uses sentimental novels to escape from reality
    • 'Put the innocent adultery into the Whole Duty of Man'
    • How charming poverty will be with him!'
  • Lucy - cunning allows her to have financial freedom  
    • 'Commend me to a mask of silliness, and a pair of sharp eyes for my own interest under it'
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Constraints

Morality

  • Mrs M tries impose morality on Lydia but she rebels and lets her imagination develop
    • 'Put the Innocent Adultery into the Whole Duty of Man'
  • A Little Boy Lost 
    •  'He seized me by the hair'
  • Garden of Love 
    • 'Thou shalt not' 
  • The Little Vagabond 
    • 'would not have bandy children, nor fasting, nor birch'

Parental authority 

  • Sir Anthony forces Jack to marry some he does not love 
    • 'business prevents it for waiting on her'
    • 'you must take it with the livestock on it as it stands'
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Constraints

  • Mrs M confines Lydia to the house for having an affiar with Beverley
    • 'Since she has discovered her own frailty, she is become more suspicious of mine'
  • Chimney Sweeper Innocence
    • 'My father sold me when my tongue could scarcely cry'

Social Class 

  • Bob Acres - Lucy doesnt like him because he is from the county
    • 'She could never abide me in the country, because I used to dress so badly'
  • Lucy - Lydia and Mrs M think she is simple beacause she is lower class
    • 'don't let your simplicity be imposed upon'
  • Fag - dresses in lastest fashion and acts like a friend of Jack's 
    • 'none of the London whips of any degree of a ton wear wigs now'
    • 'after breakfast we saunter on the Parades or play a game of billiards'
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Constraints

Poverty

  • Chimney Sweeper Innocence 
    • 'nailed in black coffins'
  • Chimney Sweeper Experience 
    • 'they clothed me in clothes of death'
  • Sir Lucius -  has to marry someone rich to gain financial stability
    • 'I cannot afford to do a dirty action'
  • London
    • 'mind-forged manacles'
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Morality and Corruption

Hypocrisy of Parents

  • The Chimney Sweeper Exp
    • 'They are both gone to church to pray'
  • Mrs M wants Lydia to know elecution but does not use words correctly
    • 'she should be the mistress orthodoxy [orthography], that she might not mispell and mispronounce words'
  • Mrs M punishes Lydia for having an affiar with Beverley but sends love letters to Sir L
    • 'Since she has discovered her own frailty, she has become more suspicious of mine'
  • Sir Anthony wants to push Jack into an arranged marriage despite having married for love 
    • 'I wonder what old, wealth hag it is that he wants to bestow upon me. Yet he himself married for love'
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Morality and Corruption

Oppresion of the church

  • Gardren of Love
    • 'Thou shalt not'
  • A Little Boy Lost
    • 'they burned me in a holy place'
  • London
    • 'the marriage hearse'
  • Lydia sees traditional marriage as restrictive
    • 'A humdrum wedding' 
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Gender roles

  • Mrs M - tries to impose expectation of women on L
    • 'does not become a young woman'
  • Sir A - doesn't think women should be educated
    • 'everygreen tree of diabolical knowledge'
  • Sir A authoritarian towards Julia
    • 'will detain me all afternoon to show me the town'
    • 'you must marry him directly'
  • Jack manipulates Lydia to gain her love 
    • 'my little Lydia'
    • 'i must prepare her gradually for the discovery, and make myself necessary to her, before I risk it' 
  • Jack sees marriage as a restriction
    • 'Saddled with a wife'
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Gender roles

  • Jack believes women's vainity makes them unintelligent
    • 'They think our admiration of their beauty so great, that knowledge in them would be superflous' 
  • Julia accepts her duty to her father by accepting arranged marriage
    • 'In his presence I pledged my hand - joyfully pledged it - where before I had given my heart'
  • Sir A sees wives as a neccessity of society
    • 'you must take the estate with the livestock on it'
  • Sir Lucius' idea of valour 
    • 'What the devil signifies right, when your honour is concerned?' 
  • Nurses song - maternal
    • 'When the voices of children are heard on the green / and laughing is heard on the hill / my heart is at rest within my breast' 
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Gender roles

  • The Little Girl Lost - mother is weak 
    • 'The trembling woman pressed / with feet of weary woe/ she could no further go'
  • A Little Girl Lost - father as oppressive force
    • 'But his loving look / like the holy book / all her tender limbs with terror shook'
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Power

Parents

  • Sir A thinks he has the right to force a marriage on J - claims he will disown him if he does not agree to arranged marriage
    • 'I'll disown you, I'll disinherit you, I'll unget you'
  • Julia sees Sir A as authoritarian 
    • 'he will detain me to show me the town'
  • Mrs M confines Lydia to the house
    • 'My aunt has discovered our intercourse by a note she intercepted, and has detained me ever since!'
  • Sir A thinks it is acceptable to suggest locking Lydia in her room and neglecting her to force her to agree to arranged marriage
    • 'Keep a tight hand. If she rejects this proposal clap her under lock and key'
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Power

  • Sir A used to hit Jack to get him to obey him
    • 'if he demurred, I struck him down'
  • Sir A forces J into the army
    • 'I put him, at twelve years old, in a marching regiment'
  • Chimney Sweeper Experience
    • 'the clothed me in clothes of death'
  • A Little Boy Lost
    • 'they stripped him to his little shirt and bound him in iron chains'
  • Chimney Sweeper Innocence
    • 'my father sold me when my tongue could scarely cry' 
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Power

Morality

  • Garden of love
    • 'Thou shalt not
    • 'bound with briars amy joys and desires'
  • A Little Boy Lost
    • 'they burned me in a holy place'
  • Expectations of women
    • 'does not become a young woman'
    • 'tree of diabolical knowledge'
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Truth and deception

Self deception

  • Bob Acres - believes he can make himself a city gentleman
    • 'my hair has been in training some time'
  • Sir A - hypocritical - married for love 
    • 'Yet he himself married for love, and was in his youth a bold intriger and gay companion'
  • Mrs M - condems Lydia for having an affair and sends love letters to sir Lucius 
    • 'Since she has discovered her own fraility, she is become more suspicious of mine'
  • Faulkland - tries to make himself sentimental
    • 'Yet surely a little trifling inndisposition is not unnatural consquence of of absence form those we love'
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Truth and deception

Deception for personal gain

  • Garden of Love
    • 'Thou shalt not'
    • 'Binds with briar my joys and desires'
  • A Little Boy Lost
    • 'In trembling zeal, seized me by the hair'
  • A Little Girl Lost
    • 'Parents far away'
  • Lucy manipulates the lovers' corrospondance for financial gain
    • 'I was forced to let my Hibernain believe he was corropsonding, not with the aunt, but with the niece'
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Truth and deception

  • Lydia - sentimental novels make her ignorant of reality 
    • 'How charming poverty will be with him!'
  • London
    • 'mind forged manacles'
  • The Little Vagabond
    • 'would not have bandy children, nor fasting, nor birch'
  • Jack pretends to be sentimental to gain Lydia's love so that he can pull her into an arranged marriage
    • 'Bring no portion to me but thy love. 'Twill be generous in you Lydia, for well you know it is the only dower your poor Beverley can repay'
  • Faulkland pretends he is on the run from the law to test Julia
    • 'with this useless device I throw away all my doubts'
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Language

  • Sentimental language
    • 'How charming will poverty be with him'
    • 'let me conjure now my kind, my condescending angel, to fiw the time whenI may rescue her from undeserved persecution'
    • 'my heart is engaged to an angel' 
  • Sentimental swearing
    • 'Od's blushes and blooms'
    • 'Od's frogs and tambour'
  • Malapropisms
    • 'I hope you will present her to the captian as an object not altoghter illegible [inillegible]'
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Language

  • Flattery
    • 'Few, like the orange tree and Mrs Malaprop, are full in both at once' 
    • 'I have been resolving, and reflecting, and considering on your past goodness, and kindness, and condescenion'
    • 'the result of my reflections is a resoulution to sacrifice every inclination of my own to your own satisfaction'
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Class and Wealth

  • Fag dresses in lastest fashion to make himself seem of higher class
    • 'None of the London whip with any degree of a ton wear wigs anymore'
  • Bob Acres tries to make himself into a gentleman
    • 'My hair has been in training sometime'
  • Sir Lucius wants to marry Lydia to gain her fortune
    • 'I can't afford to do a dirty action'
  • Lucy uses intelligence to gain wealth
    • 'Commend me to wear a mask of silliness with a sharp pair of eyes for my own interest underneath' 
  • Sir A uses Jack to gain wealth  
    • 'It is sorry but business prevents it for waiting on her'
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Class and Wealth

  • Lydia would rather lose her fortune and live in poverty with a man she loves than have an arranged marriage 
    • 'I have determined to do ever since I knew the penalty. Nor could I love the man who would wish to wait a day for the alternative'
  • London
    • 'mind forged manicles'
  • Chimney Sweeper Innocence
    • 'nailed in black coffins'
    • 'my father sold me when I could scarcely cry'
  • Chimney Sweeper Experience
    • 'they clothed me in clothes of death, and had me sing songs of woe'
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Love and marriage

  • London
    • 'the marriage hearse'
  • A Little Girl Lost
    • 'love was thought a crime'
  • My Pretty Rose Tree
    • 'her thorns were my only delight'
  • Garden of Love
    • 'binds with briars my joys and desires'
  • Julia accepts arranged marriage out of love and filial duty
    • 'In his presence I pledged my hand - joyfully pledged it - where before I had placed my heart' 
  • Lydia does not want an arranged marriage
    • 'the impediment of our friends' consent, a humdrum wedding and the reversion of good fortune on my side'
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Love and marriage

  • Jack pretends to want to elope to secure Lydia's fortune
    • 'I must prepare her gradually for the discovery, and make myself necessary to her before I risk it'
  • Mrs M tries to force arranged marriage on Lydia
    • 'the point we would request of you is, that you will promise to forget this fellow - to illterate [obliterate] him, I say, quite from your memory'
  • Lydia wants a sentimental love 
    • 'last Thursday, I wrote a letter to myself, to inform myself that Beverley was at that time paying his adresses to another women' 
  • Faulkland's search for true sentimental love drives Julia away
    • 'Julia, I have proved you to the quick, an with this empty device I throw away all my doubts'
  • Mrs M disapproves of Lydia's affair with Beverley but sends loveletters to Sir Lucius
    • 'Since she has discovered her own frailty, she is become more suspicious of mine'
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Love and marriage

  • 'the marriage hearse'
  • 'love was thought a crime'
  • 'her thorns were my only delight'
  • 'binds with briars my joys and desires'
  • Julia accepts arranged marriage out of love and filial duty
  • Lydia does not want an arranged marriage
  • Jack pretends to want to elope to secure 
  • Mrs M tries to force arranged marriage on Lydia
  • Lydia wants a sentimental love 
  • Faulkland's search for true sentimental love drives 
  • Mrs M disapproves of Lydia's affair with Beverley but sends loveletters to Sir Lucius
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Criticisms

  • Freedom and Constriants
    • 'Blake sought to emancipate humanity from the slavery of reason' - Vine
    • 'The play encapsulates a moment where we can discern a shift away from seeing human behaviour as a set of codes in a world where nothing is private, and to be is to act a part, towards a more vital psychological realism’ - Maybank
  • Morality and Corruption
    • 'Blake finds subjection to [...] a god worse than subjection to human fathers and masters' - Vine 
    • 'Similarly, no promptbook I have seen makes Sir Anthony the distinct center of the play, probably because his role as a blocking agent is fairly circum- scribed; he has few characteristics which do not serve this end (he is not, for instance, senex amans)” - Auburn
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Criticisms

  • Gender roles 
    • Sheridan is concerned with nothing less than the problem of a woman’s freedom in a society that looks upon women as property and upon marriage as a business transaction’  - Kaul
    • Blake's hostility to 'female will'. . . is not easy to evaluate, and he noted how Blake's views on women have received rather contrasting interpretations.'Erdman
  • Power
    • 'Blake’s poems serve to damn those institutions which, by their advocacy of this rationality, sought to stifle divine energy with oppressive morality' - Vine 
    • 'Sir Anthony, for his part, is infuriated, not by the usual disobidience of his errant son but by the latter meek acceptance of his commands - Fintan O'Toole
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Criticisms

  • Truth and Deception
    • Jack - "unequivocal hero of the drama [...] becomes the positive of this culture. He knows what he wants and also knows how to get it”  - Kaul
  • Love and marriage
    • Faulkland - 'contradictory self, struggling to manage his moods in society' - Maybank
    • The marriages in The Rivals have been prevented by “misunderstandings and misguided notions rather than real evil or lasting intractability” – Mark S. Auburn
    • 'Blake cries out in a sweat of exhaultation, of angiushed and delighted knowledge, that life is enslaved, that in the impulses of imagaination and nowhere else is there sanctity, or truth, or love' - Jack Lindsey
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Context - Sheridan

Sentimentalism and the Cult of sensibility

  • The idea that people should listen and show thier inner feelings
  • The belief that people's decision should be governed by emotions instead of reason

Sentimental comedy

  • Reflected contemporary philosophical conceptions of humans as inherently good but capable of being led astray through bad example
  • Aimed to make the audience cry instead of laugh

Comedy of manners

  • A comedy that satrizes the behaviour of a certain social class
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Sheridan context

Marriage 

  • Arraged marriages amoung the upper class were usually view as business contract to gain wealth or social status
  • People rarely married for love and elopment was frowned upon
  • Sheridan eloped with Elizabeth Linley

Authuoritarian parents

  • Sheridan's father disapproved of his elopement

Irish identity

  • Sheridan was born in Ireland - confused identity
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Context - Blake

Romanticism

  • An artistic and intellectual movement originating in Europe in the late 18th century
  • heightened interest in nature
  • emphasis on the individual's expression of emotion and imagination
  • departure from the attitudes and forms of classicism
  • rebellion against established social rules and conventions

Religion

  • Believed that the Church were using thier power to suppress people's natural feelings and desire
  • Believed he was channeling his poetry from the word of angels - believed he was passing on the word of God
  • Believed he had visions of God as a child
  • Created his own mythology - created a god Urizen who was creul and did not forgive sin
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Blake context

Education

  • After the Industrial revolution provisions were made for poor children to be sent to school - had to be in school for at least 2 hours a day
  • Many saw this as a positive change but Blake believed this education would suppress childrens imagination and natural creativity
  • Blake was never sent to school because his father though he was too badly behaved
  • Sent to a drawing school when he was ten
  • Apprenticed to an engraver when he left drawing school
  • Blake did not agree with industrialized education

Poverty in the 18th Century

  • Little provision - had to rely on poor houses
  • Chimney sweeps were sold by thier parents to a master sweep - called apprentices but were actually slaves
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Blake context

Poverty

  • They were given little food and were made to sleep on the floor under rags used to clean soot from the chimneys
  • They were rarely washed - constantly covered in soot

Love

  • Believed arranged marriage was legalised prostitution
  • Agreed with the ideas of the Swedenborgan movement
  • Believed in free love
  • Wanted a concubine but wife wouldn't allow it 
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Comments

James

Amazing? Yeah, cool, thanks.

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