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The Power Of Love In Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s ‘The Rivals’

One of the words that is least easily defined in the English language is ‘love’. It may be what you feel when you look at someone for the first time that matches all of your secret wishes for a romantic partner. But then again, there are many types of love as well. It can be between friends or married partners or family members. It can even be from a supreme deity to the entire of creation. It is perhaps the most powerful of all the things that anyone is capable of feeling or expressing. This essay looks into how that powerful force is used throughout ‘The Rivals’.

How it resulted in the play

‘The rivals’ was only even written because of Sheridan’s affection for his wife. She had been a very well compensated singer before they wed and afterward he wanted to ensure that she was kept in a manner that was expected of a lady of her station. This meant that despite the large sums she formerly earned, she could no longer be allowed to work. It also meant that the two of them had to entertain other nobility and maintain the appearance of wealth. But as a gentleman, his work options were limited and a play turned out to be the best way to raise funds and keep up appearances.

How it is expressed within the play

The story involves a love triangle or some other enclosed shape with a greater number of sides. The young lady around whom all of the commotion revolves has a very warped idea of romance because of her suspicious reading material. Her love interest is of a similar social standing but pretends to be poor to give her the more interesting or taboo relationship that she seems to crave. She has other suitors who want to be with her as well and with their own misconceptions about love and the deceptions that they engage in to try to win the heart of the woman they desire, many duels, squabbles and mishaps take place from beginning to end.

Even though there were cases of intrigue throughout the play the realness of the characters’ love for each other prevailed in the end. Those couples that were mean to be together were.

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