In The School for Scandal, Richard Brinsley Sheridan shows great delight in skewering the affections and pretentiousness of aristocratic Londoners in the 1770s, an era in which gossip, speculation and scandal provided the primary amusement in many a drawing room. With effervescent wit and intricate plotting, the action of this play pivots around the middle-aged Sir Peter Teazle and Lady Teazle, his beautiful, much younger wife; Charles and Joseph Surface, two brothers of dissimilar temperament and competing interests; and their rich uncle, Sir Oliver Surface. Swarming around these characters are the appropriately named Lady Sneerwell, Mr. Snake, Sir Benjamin Backbite and Mrs. Candour, who busy themselves gleefully into intrigues and alliances as they deal out ruinous innuendo and render abuse of one's reputation into a form of art.
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