Discuss Goldsmith's View of Sentimental Comedy - Questionpur

Discuss Goldsmith's view of sentimental comedy

Yet notwithstanding this weight of authority, and the universal practice of former ages, a new species of dramatic composition has been introduced under the name of sentimental comedy, in which the virtues of private life are exhibited rather than vices exposed, and the distresses rather than the faults mankind make our interest in the piece. 

In this manner, we are likely to lose one great source of entertainment on the stage, for while the comic poet is invading the province of the tragic muse, he leaves her lovely sister quite neglected. It appears then that Goldsmith purposed to restore humour and nature to comedy if comedy is to be what it is. 

Delineation of character also enters into his aim. Scenes and characters that were considered too low by the writers of sentimental comedies have, as Goldsmith claims, a legitimate place in comedy. Goldsmith had clearly expressed his ideas on comedy, which he had more than once expressed, and so finally he brought out The Good Natur Man. 

He emphasized comic situations as the very sine qua non of comedy. In 1773 came She Stoops to Conquer. Even then the influence of sentimental comedy was predominant. The West Indian of Cumberland had just been produced. As one critic puts it, " The sentimental snake ....... was not even scorched, and genteel comedy - that ' mawkish drab of spurious breed ', as the opportunist. Garrick came eventually to style it had still its supporters. 

" She Stoops to Conquer and later Sheridan's, The Rivals and The School for Scandal did slowly change to the public taste. The pseudo-classical spirit of the age had, by the late eighteenth century, destroyed serious drama, and the changing type of audience, middle-class, squeamish, but unrefined, had no taste for the old comedies of manners.

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