In The School for Scandal, Sheridan expressively outlined the object of satire – a specific society and a particular social phenomenon – slander. There are a lot of sharp phrases and thoughtful expressions in the play, and the poisonous witticisms of the characters capture and enchant. Three storylines can be traced in The School for Scandal, including the exposure of the protagonist’s lies, slander, and the dishonorable behavior of people who are married. The play satirically ridicules human vices such as avarice, greed, dishonesty, and lust.
The playwright tries to oppose Charles Surface, Joseph’s younger brother, to the world of evil. Charles does not recognize holiness, envy, and gossip and openly opposes them. Lady Surface’s entourage is also wary of Maria’s “pure soul and heart,” but readers do not completely understand her character since Sheridan left them without development (Sheridan, 1999). Despite their life transformations, these heroes continue to live in an environment of gossip and scandals fueling them.
Sheridan does not disregard the problems of the family, showing in the example of the married couple Teazle how detrimentally there was a fascination with slander against Lady Teazle, who almost became a victim of Joseph. Sheridan elaborately, with mild humor and warmth, developed one of the important storylines of the comedy, the story of the relationship between Sir Peter Teazle and his wife, Lady Teazle. An irritable elderly bachelor married a young provincial woman, who was immediately carried away by the maelstrom of social life. Sir Peter is treated by no means as a stereotyped type of deceived jealous, and Lady Teazle, for all her frivolity, is sincerely attached to her husband. The depiction of Sir Peter and Lady Teazle, with their eternal quarrels and squabbles, in which ill-concealed tenderness shows through, anticipates a richness of psychological nuances and emotional depth. Thus, despite the significant difference between these heroes from other hypocrites and gossip, they also revolve around the environment of scandals. Thus, the heroes have not been able to overcome their human vices, as described by Sheridan, and gossip and scandals still accompany them.
Sheridan, R. B. (1999). The school for scandal. [PDF document].