Her taste in books only highlights her girlish taste for melodrama and passion.

Malaprop agrees that learning and education are unbecoming on a young woman, but suggests that "I would send her at nine years old to a boarding-school, in order to learn a little ingenuity and artifice." When Julia says that this is foolish, Lydia insists that Julia's relationship with Faulkland is misguided as well, given the fact that Faulkland has delayed marrying her. After Sir Anthony leaves, Mrs. Malaprop writes her own letter to her admirer, a man named Sir Lucius, and has Lucy deliver the letter. When Lydia leaves the room, Malaprop and Anthony discuss the fact that it was wrong to teach girls to read, and Anthony notes that he saw Lucy returning with books from the library. Julia assures Lydia that Beverley will forgive her, before bringing up the fact that Beverley is not very wealthy. This Study Guide consists of approximately 65 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Rivals. Lydia stubbornly wants to marry the poor Ensign Beverley for love, but Anthony and Malaprop want her to marry Jack Absolute, Anthony's wealthy son. Acres becomes worried that he will die, even though everyone assures him he will survive.

The play then begins with two servants meeting accidentally on the streets in the city of Bath.

Faulkland refuses at first, saying that he needs to mend things with Julia. Absolute tries to tell his father that he already loves someone, but Sir Anthony refuses to listen to what his son has to say and leaves, angered by his son’s disobedience. Anthony has no doubt that Jack will go along with it, informing Malaprop that he has always been an imperious and authoritarian father. Sir Anthony comes with a woman named Mrs. Malaprop, Lydia’s guardian, and they begin talking with her about Beverley and how their relationship is a mistake. Sheridan also expresses his opinion that critics should not write harsh criticism about anyone who they do not know personally. Lucius then takes out the letters written to him by Delia. Absolute then reveals to Faulkland that Julia is in town but advises Faulkland to be patient and to wait until he goes to see her. Mrs. Malaprop tells Absolute that she was unable to convince Lydia to give up her passion for Beverley but that she hopes the two will get along fine. Apparently, Lydia and Jack got acquainted in Gloucestershire. Malaprop asks Lydia if she will forget Beverley and marry someone chosen for her, saying, "What business have you, Miss, with preference and aversion? A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics. Anthony tells Malaprop that he wants Lydia to marry his son Jack Absolute—the real identity of Ensign Beverley—and Malaprop agrees to help him in this.

Julia, Lydia’s cousin, enters and tells Lydia about Sir Anthony and his arrival in town. Her fanciful and changeable nature make her an exceedingly unpredictable lover, which only adds to the comedy of the play. The Rivals Summary. She tells her friend that, despite his imperfections, Faulkland is a sincere lover.

Fag tells him that there is a pump-room (a mineral spring), a promenade, billiards, and dancing, before complaining about the “regular hours” there, given the fact that Bath is primarily a health resort. He wants Acre's to refuse the challenge to the duel, and he even refuses to touch the challenge letter. Two servants, the Coachman and Fag, meet unexpectedly on the street in the resort town of Bath, England. Sheridan claims that the reason the play was unsuccessful was that it was the first play he had ever written and because he did not research the writing style enough. Then, Lucy tells Fag about Absolute and how he will compete for Lydia’s love as well. She then tells Julia that Mrs. Malaprop is in love with an Irish baronet, whom she met at "Lady Macshuffle's rout.". One of them had recently been taken out by Lady Slattern Lounger, but it was too “soiled and dog’s-ear’d.” Lucy takes out the books she was able to find. Malaprop then calls Lydia down and Absolute convinces her that he somehow managed to fool her aunt into believing that he is Absolute. After Acres leaves, Sir Anthony enters, telling his son that he plans to marry him to a woman, but does not tell him who the woman is. David is Acres's servant. In the second scene of the second act, Lucy delivers a letter from Malaprop to Sir Lucius who is unaware of the fact that Delia, the woman he thinks he is talking with, is an old woman and not a 17-year-old girl. However, the only way for her to go with him is if she were to be married to him. They don't become a young woman...'tis safest in matrimony to begin with a little aversion. He is described as smart, uneducated, and a firm believer in life over honor. This device appears again and again, with characters like “Jack Absolute” and “Mrs.

Next, Sheridan presents the prologue of the play, a prologue which was presented only on the first night. Suddenly, Lucy enters and tells the women that Sir Anthony Absolute and Mrs. Malaprop have just arrived.

When Fag mentions that he and Mr. Faulkland’s servant are friends, Thomas reveals that Faulkland is supposed to marry Julia Melville, a relation of the Absolutes. David is Acres's servant. Lydia then tells her cousin about how she had never had a fight with her lover, Beverley, so she faked a letter just to have a reason to fight with him. Acres talks with his servant about dancing, when suddenly Sir Lucius appears. Mrs. Malaprop’s lodgings, a dressing room, where Lydia is sitting on the sofa and Lucy is just returning home. Malaprop tells Anthony that she has never seen Jack Absolute, but hopes he will not object to the arrangement. He is described as smart, uneducated, and a firm believer in life over honor. Thomas, the Coachman, has just arrived in Bath, with his master Sir Anthony Absolute and his Sir Anthony's ward, Madam Julia. Acres, a man who was close to Julia, comes in and tells Faulkland that Julia was well during his absence. Absolute tells Malaprop that she should let Lydia and Beverley continue to correspond, and that he will come when the two try to elope. When Lydia and Absolute are alone, Lydia tells Absolute she no longer loves him because he deceived her and treated her like a child. Faulkland also appears, and Absolute asks him to be his second in the duels. Faulkland and Julia reconcile at Sir Anthony’s insistence, and the play draws to an end. Fag claims that he lied to Sir Anthony about Absolute’s visit and the two agree to tell Sir Anthony that the reason Absolute is in town is that he is recruiting soldiers. When the two meet, Julia tells Faulkland that she will marry him, and will follow him anywhere, no matter the circumstances. Thomas notices that Jack is giving Lucy money, which is strange, and Fag tells him to meet him that night at 8 for a little party. Absolute tries to convince his father to leave him alone with Lydia, but he refuses. Fag teases Thomas for wearing a wig, and Thomas says that he would never give it up, even if “the lawyers and doctors may do as they will.”. Not affiliated with Harvard College. This Study Guide consists of approximately 65 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - Fag leaves laughing, not telling Lucy that Absolute and Beverley are the same man. Thomas asks Fag to describe Bath, suggesting that he has heard it is a good place for merry-making. Instead of feeling happy, Faulkland feels betrayed, not knowing how Julia can be happy when he is miserable. It is then revealed that Fag works for Sir Anthony’s son, Captain Absolute, who decided to change his name to Ensign Beverley, hoping to win the affection of a woman named Lydia Languish who prefers poor people. Buy Study Guide. Thomas is confused about why Captain Absolute would not pretend to be a general rather than a lowly ensign. find the elements of the themes of the play in today’s world? Absolute does not understand why, but agrees to meet with him that night at six o'clock—the same time and place given by Acres for his duel with Beverley. The Rivals Summary. The two then discuss their love interests and each criticizes the other, even though they both have secret relationships. While Sir Anthony is pleased with how things have turned out, Mrs. Malaprop realizes that Absolute made fun of her through his letters. Mrs. Malaprop then gives Absolute a letter written by Beverley and he pretends to laugh at it and at how Beverley planned to win Lydia by using Mrs. Malaprop. In the park where the men were supposed to meet, Absolute's father passes through by chance. Everyone is plotting for Lydia to marry the same man, even though they believe they all have different desires. Sheridan then talks about various critics who, in his opinion, misjudged his play and only wanted to make him feel bad and did not want to see him improve as a writer. Faulkland sends a letter to Julia, telling her he must flee the country because he did something terrible and that he wishes she could come with him. Soon after finding out about the woman’s identity, Absolute meets with his father and tells him that he has agreed to marry whoever his father has selected for him. He then proposes that they run away together, but Lydia is reluctant to accept.

The two fight frequently, but Julia still claims that she loves him. They talk next about Julia and how Faulkland feels as if he will never be able to love another woman except Julia.