Restoration Comedy

18th/19th century romanticism and melodrama

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Culture of the time

The Restoration Comedy Area had a Classicist influence from the french court. It was a fashionable society with "man About town". These people live from produce of their land, whom left ample time to visit other fashionable people. Eighteenth century fashion was seen as a time where fashion was an icon. The elegant life was lived among mirrors that reflected the immediate, ephemeral, radiance of fashion. However this high class elegance n living mostly stayed in countries like Britain. John green has more to say on what was happening in America.
The Constitution, the Articles, and Federalism: Crash Course US History #8
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George Etherege

George Etherege, a Londoner who lived between 1636 and 1689, deserves to hold a more distinguished place in dramatic literature than has generally been allotted to him. In a dull and heavy age, he had a period of genuine wit and sprightliness; he invented the

comedy of intrigue, and led the way for the masterpieces of Congreve and Sheridan. Etherege had the ability to create scenes where we saw the ladies and gentlemen of London's lives vividly represented before our eyes. He was a rich man living at ease, with tastes of a fine gentleman. He was disdained to excel in literature. He left Cambridge University to travel France and Flanders.

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Catherine Trotter

The Restoration era was the first time where women were brought up in playwriting.Catherine Trotter Cockburn was born in London in 1679. She had taught herself to read and write. With these skills, she began writing plays and novels. She was also a huge fan of locke's work, and wrote a piece defending his views on national morality. Catherine Trotter married in 1709 to Reverend Patrick Cockburn, and seized writing until 1726, once her husband was appointed in Aberdeen. She then began writing more essays on philosophical ideas. Catherine Trotter Cockburn died in 1749.
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William Congreve

"He who closes his ears to the views of others shows little confidence in the integrity of his own views." A famous quote from the poet/ playwrite William Congreve. William Congreve lived form 1670 to 1729. Congreve shaped english comedy manners through his brilliant comic dialogue, satirical portrayal of the war of the sexes, and the ironic scrutiny of the affectations of his age. He studied under the distinguished philosopher and mathematician St. George Ashe, who also tutored his elder schoolfellow and ultimate lifelong friend Jonathan Swift. Never a serious reader in law, he published in 1692 under the pseudonym Cleophil a light but delightfully skillful near-parody of fashionable romance, possibly drafted when he was 17, Incognita: or, Love and Duty reconcil’d. He quickly became known among men of letters, had some verses printed in a miscellany of the same year, and became a protégé of John Dryden.


A bold stroke for a wife- the play tells a story of a military officer who wants to marry a young woman. His only obstacles are four guardians who watch over his love Anne Lovely. Each of the four guardians has an idea of the ideal husband. The catch is that each disagrees about the perfect man for Anne.

The Rover- Willmore, a rakish naval, falls in love with a young women named Hellena, who has set out to experience love before her brother sends her to a covent. Complications arise when a girl named Angellica, who falls in love with Willmore and swears revenge for his betrayal.

The Beauxs Stratagem- Aimwell and Archer are to fashionable beaux, on the lookout for an heiress so they can repair their fortunes.


Women wore gowns with bell shaped skirts and sleeves with high mantillas and veils. Indoors, women were allowed to show their faces, hands, necks and bosoms, but outside, they wore large hooded cloaks.

As time progressed, men showed more of their legs and women's attire became more clinging and revealing. The men often wore eye patches.

Both sexes wore excessive make-up, false noses, beards, mustaches, powder, rouge, pencil, lipstick and beauty patches. Facial expression was avoided because it tended to crack the facial make-up. stages were extravagant. many having influeced light fro the sun, and actors projecting voice to huge domes.