Give an estimate of Goldsmith as a dramatist - Questionpur

Give an estimate of Goldsmith as a dramatist

Goldsmith tried his hand at various types of literary productions. He wrote poems - Deserted Village, The Traveller, a novel - The Vicar of Wakefield, a number of essays; and plays - The Good Natur'd Man and She Stoops to Conquer. He would have achieved greater success as a dramatist if he had devoted himself entirely to drama, and had taken greater pains. Still, his achievements as a writer of comedies are not negligible.

Referring to Goldsmith as a dramatist, Ifor Evans has remarked in A Short History of English Literature: " Oliver Goldsmith ( 1730-74 ) might have been one of the greatest figures of our literature if he had only taken more pains. His early play, The Good Natur'd Man ( 1768 ) reads w feebly, though its intentions of mocking the access of false charity are obvious. She Stoops to Conquer ( 1773 ) has clung to the stage, particularly the amateur stage, until the present day. In a way, it is a great example of the comedy of amateur genius in the language.

It goes back to the atmosphere of Farquhar's Beaux ' Strategem and brings back a breath of genuine humanity to a drama stifled with excessive emotions. Its plot, though recklessly improbable, is adequate to maintain the humour of the situation and the bluntly clear delineation of the characters. Hardcastle and Tony Lumpkin are at once types and individuals and, like all the great comic characters, images of their age, and yet recognizable as human figures once the fashion of their own time has disappeared.

" The audience realized fully the cleverness of the work, although their tastes were too hardened to permit them to accept without protest the ' low ' scenes which Goldsmith had introduced into his play. Reading the play now, we may fail to discern where exactly Goldsmith departed from the sentimental camp.

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