The School for Scandal Questions and Answers
- What initial information do we get from the conversation of Lady Sneerwell and Mr. Snake?
Lady Sneerwell in spite of being a wealthy widow keeps herself confined to scandalous gossiping, Mr. Snake is her sub-ordinate asst. From their conversation, we learn that Maria is the bone of contention for two Surface brothers. Lady herself is infatuated with Charles. She is trying her best to create trouble in the proposed marriage between Maria and Charles. Joseph supports her. Maria is a ward of Sir Peter losing her own father. Maria loves Charles but Sir Peter is in favour of Joseph. However, Lady Sneerwell regards Joseph as a shrewd and selfish man.
- What is Sir Peter’s trouble?
Sir Peter talks to himself about the unfavourable and troublesome married life of his own. His wife who is much younger than he leaves no stone unturned in wasting his heard earned money. Six months ago she came to his life and since then he is in deep trouble. She contradicts him in every matter. Sir Peter’s agony is twofold when Maria, his ward declares that she is not ready to obey his wishes of marrying Joseph. His wife’s wish of leading a fashionable life gives him much pain.
- What type of man is Sir Oliver?
Sir Oliver is a man with the theory of self-help and gives a deaf ear to false gossiping. For example, Rowley tries to convince him that in spite of scandalous discussions against him, Charles is gentle, humble and kind-hearted. Sir Oliver does not believe in rumour. Now, Sir Peter welcomes his arrival in England after 16 years. He tells Oliver that Joseph is a man of morals but Charles is beyond reformation. But, Sir Oliver does not accept these information at all and decides to verify the matter himself.
- What is Mr. Oliver’s plan to test the nephews?
After a discussion with Rowley and Sir Peter, Oliver decides to visit his nephews-Joseph and Charles, in the disguise of Mr. Stanley and Mr. Premium respectively. According to his plan, Mr. Stanley will approach Joseph and ask him for some financial help and Mr. Premium will visit Charles as a broker. Both these two characters are played by Sir Oliver in order to have a firsthand experience about his nephews.
- What scandalous stories are served by Mrs. Candour?
Mrs. Candour coming to Lady Sneerwell’s house describes some fresh scandalous stories. She tells that Miss Gadabout has eloped with Sir Filigree. And Miss Prim tried to run away with her dancing teacher. She passes on stories about Mrs. Festino’s affair with Colonel Cassino and the weddings of Mr. Honeymoon. Even, Miss Tattle was detected in a notorious house and Sir Harry and Tom are going to fight a duel. She also told stories about some famous persons who are in debt and Charles is one of them.
- How do Sir Benjamin and Crabtree indulge themselves in scandalous talking?
Benjamin and Crabtree make malicious comments on all but especially on women. Crabtree says that Miss Letita has given birth to twins due to the affair with somebody. Charles is largely indebted to a Jewish money-lender but leads a life of splendour. Maria leaves the place in disgust and she is criticized. Then Crabtree asks Benjamin to mitigate Maria by reciting those poems composed for her. Now, both of them comments on the financial crisis of Charles.
- What is Sir Peter’s estimation of Joseph?
Sir Peter always thinks that Joseph is much better than his younger brother Charles. Pleading in favour of Charles, Rowely says that Charles will reform himself slowly, but Sir Peter is sure that there is no possibility of reformation in Charles. He advocated Joseph and says that this man is a role model for young generation. To him, Joseph is a man of moral principles and acts accordingly.
- How do Lady Sneerwell and her group engage in scandalous talking and is it reacted by Sir Peter?
Lady Sweerwell and her group criticize their known persons. They say : Miss Vermilion uses heavy make ups to look more beautiful. They can’t tolerate Mrs. Evergreen who behave like a young girl at the age of 56. They also criticize Miss Simper for keeping her mouth always partially open. Mrs. Prim for losing a couple of her front teeth is victimized. Now, Mrs. Pursy is alleged for her bulky body, Lady Stucco for paint and Miss Ogle for ugly face. Sir Peter opposes this, as these people are closely related to them. But, Lady Teazle says that probably Sir Peter would like the parliament to pass a resolution against such practices.
- How is Lady Teazle a dilemma for Joseph?
Lady Teazle enters the room where Joseph is trying to woo Maria. When Maria departs as per the order of the Lady, Joseph is asked why he was so impatiently trying to impress Maria when he always proclaims his love for her. When the Lady departs, Joseph speaks to himself that this woman has now become a dilemma for him. He says that he befriended Lady Teazle only to win Maria but Teazle has taken it otherwise. He earnestly wants to marry Maria only for her wealth but he can’t refuse the whims of Lady Teazle at the same time.
- How does Charles’ servant, Trip behave?
Sir Oliver in the disguise of Mr. Premium comes to meet Charles in the company of Moses. Trip, Charles’ servant receives them. Trip behaves in such a style that none can be sure of Charles’ financial crisis. Trip asks for some loan from Moses. When Moses asks about security, Trip wants to deposit his master’s winter clothes. So, the two visitor cannot but be thoroughly surprised.
- How does Charles indulge in merry-making?
Charles in spite of his financial crisis indulges in merry-making and enjoys his friends’ company. Charles says that drinking is the symbol of cultured men and a man who hates drink is not civilized. One of his friends says, some people prefer gambling about this portrait. In spite of Sir Oliver’s insistence, Careless refuses to sell it. Oliver is surprised but happy inwardly because in spite of selling all the portraits, Charles wants not to sell his uncle’s portrait. Even, Charles promises to keep this with him forever to drinking. Charles says that these people also should drink because it will help them to win game of cards and if they lose the game, they will feel no distress due to this, Charles proposes a loaf of toast to Maria and Sir Toby starts singing
- Why is Oliver’s first impression of Charles is hostile?
Charles wants to entertain Mr. Premium (Sir Oliver) and Moses by offering them wine. They reject it. Oliver feels negative of Charles as he takes no care of his money and spends it lavishly by drinking. Moreover, Charles wants to take a loan from Sir Oliver at the 50% rate of interest. They two ask him about security. Charles wants to deposit the flower pots. When Sir Oliver asks about his fathers’ library, Charles replies that it is already sold to repay some of his previous loan. So, Oliver’s first impression of Charles is hostile.
- What is Charles’ second whim as security deposit?
Charles says that he can offer the wealth of his uncle as security but it is possible only after his death. Sir Oliver (Mr. Premium) asks him about this possibility. Charles says Indian climate does not suit him and he is on the verge of collapse. Now, Charles wants to know if Mr. Premium is willing to buy his family portraits. Sir Oliver is surprised at the senseless wish of Charles to sell his family portraits but accepts the offer. Careless is appointed as auctioneer and they all go to upstairs where the portraits are kept.
- How is the auction performed?
As the auction starts, the portrait of Charles’ great uncle comes first. Charles demands 10 pounds for this. This is accepted by Oliver. Now, comes the turn of Charles’ aunt Deborah. Charles demands 5 pounds and 10 shillings for this. This is also agreed. Charles demands a similar amount for the portraits of two cousins of Deborah. Oliver grants this. The portrait of grandfather of Charles’s mother fetches 4 guineas.
- Why is not Charles ready to sell his uncle’s portrait?
Finally, comes the turn of the portrait of Sir Oliver but Charles is in no mood to sell it. Sir Oliver is ready to offer him any amount to grasp the portrait. Careless passes a bitter comment about this portrait. In spite of Sir Oliver’s insistence, careless refuse to sell it, Oliver is surprised but happy inwardly because in spite of selling all the portraits, Charles wants not to sell his uncle’s portrait. Even Charles promises to keep this with him forever.
- Why does Oliver appreciates Charles?
Moses who is accompanying Sir Oliver asks the other’s opinion about Charles. Sir Oliver says that he is very much impressed by Charles’ nature and he does not care his faults as Charles has a lot of respect for him and so he (Oliver) favours him. Now, Rowley says that in spite of financial distress, Charles has sent 100 pounds for Mr. Stanley, who demanded help from Charles. Sir Oliver is naturally extremely happy and decides to all possible helps to Charles.
- Why is Joseph perplexed?
Lady Teazle had promised to meet Joseph at his house but she does not arrive and Joseph gets perplexed. Joseph is a little restless to think what will happen if Sir Peter discovers his intimacy with Lady Teazle. He is also fearful because if this comes to surface, in that condition, he will certainly lose Maria forever. But, he is still hopeful as his brother’s bad reputation might go in favour of him. Then, at last, she comes with some sad news for Joseph.
- What does Joseph say about husbands?
Joseph tells Lady Teazel that if a husband suspects his wife’s loyalty without any solid evidence, in that condition is not bound to remain faithful to her husband. If a husband loses his sincerity to his wife, then the wife is also free to act accordingly. So, she has every reason to love Joseph. However, Lady Teazle finds herself in whirlpool. Joseph prescribes a remedy for this that is loving others except his husband Sir Peter
- How does Joseph causes a trouble for himself?
Lady Teazle was talking with Joseph and lady is hidden behind the curtain as Sir Peter comes. Now, Charles comes to this place and Sir Peter is also hidden in the same place with the words that a French hat-maker is already there. Sir Peter came to enquire the affair between Charles and Lady Teazle So, Joseph asks his brother to clarify it. Charles says Teazle (lady) is frequently meeting Joseph and yet he (Charles) is suspected. Now, a troublesome condition is created by Joseph himself. He tries to stop his brother by saying that Sir Peter is already there in the room.
- How is Lady Teazle’s presence in Joseph’s room discovered?
A servant arrives with the information that Lady Sneerewell wants to meet Joseph Joseph goes to meet her because he does not want this lady’s presence also in this trouble-making room. He also wants not to leave Sir Peter and Charles in that room where Lady Teazel is hidden. So, he goes out for a few minutes to send Lady Sneerwell back. As Joseph goes out, Sir Peter says to Charles that one hat-maker is hiding behind the screen. Charles now removes the screen just to enjoy the situation. But to their surprise, Lady Teazle is discovered.
- Why does Joseph refuse to help Mr. Stanley?
Sir Oliver (Mr. Stanley) meets Joseph and seeks some financial help from him. But, Joseph clearly says that he can’t do anything in this regard as he is passing through a critical condition. Stanley asks if his uncle will send money for him. Joseph says his will send only gifts and not money. At this Stanley is hurt in his heart as he has already posted a large sum of money for Joseph. However, Joseph promises to help him as soon as he will recover from crisis.
- What news Rowley brings for Joseph?
Rowley arrives with a written message for Joseph. It was a message from Joseph’s uncle Sir Oliver, who has informed him through this message that he has arrived in England and very soon he will meet Joseph at his house. Joseph says that it is a very pleasant news for him. But, he is inwardly feeling disturbed as he passing through financial crisis.
- How does Crabtree interpret the total incident?
Crabtree presents a new analysis of entire episode. He says that Lady Teazle has affair with Charles, not with Joseph. He further informs that definitely a duel was fought between Sir Peter and Charles but they used Pistols instead of swords. Crabtree also informs that Charles’ bullet hit Sir Peter’s thorax and it caused a wound to him. Peter also wanted to shoot but missed the target and hit a postman. Lady Sneerwell getting irritated left the place and the others talked onwards.
- How is Sir Oliver’s identity misjudged?
When Sir Oliver appears on the scene, his identity is misjudged as he is unknown to all and he is taken as the doctor who attends upon Sir Peter, who is injured due to the duel with Charles. Everybody asks him about the present condition of Sir Peter. Sir Oliver is thoroughly surprised as he is mistaken by all. He says that he is no doctor but a good friend of Sir Peter.
- What new plan is hatched by Joseph after his first failure of plan?
Although Lady Sneerwell condemns Joseph for his misconduct, Joseph tries to convince her and says that there are still some rays of hope. He says to her that Charles can yet be defamed by providing those forged love-letters, which Charles is supposed to have sent to her. Besides, they can also defame and demoralise Charles by producing Snake to support their claim that Charles has made a promise to Lady Sneerwell that he would marry her very soon.
- How is Sir Oliver’s real identity exposed?
Both the Surface brothers were trying to push Mr. Stanley out. But, Sir Peter now reveals the true identity of Sir Oliver to two brothers. Hearing that Mr. Stanley is Sir Oliver, the brothers realise their fault. Oliver reminds Joseph about his conduct with Stanley who was refused any help from Joseph. Charles gets ready to face a storm for selling the family portraits. However, Sir Oliver loves Charles as in spite of his insistence Charles did not sell his uncle’s portrait.
- How does Snake expose the intrigue of Lady Sneerwell?
Snake was supposed to advocate in favour of Lady Sneerwell. But, appearing on the scene, he makes all astonished by his words. He says that although Lady Sneerwell has given him a large amount of money to tell a lie but her rival has offered him double the amount to speak the truth. So, this way, the evil plan of Lady Sneerwell against Charles gets exposed and it creates a great annoyance to her. Now, Lady Teazle comes down heavily on Lady Sneerwell and tells her that she is the principal of the school of scandal ; and her school offers a diploma for scandal-mongers. Lady Sneerwell makes a malicious remark before leaving. Joseph also forsakes the place but Sir Oliver advises him to get married to Lady Sneerwell.
- What type of man is Snake?
Snake who is a standard liar feels depressed because he is compelled to tell truth which is not appropriate for his profession. He informs all of them that telling a lie is his profession and he earns his livelihood through this. And if he speaks truth, it means he spoils his good record of speaking a perfect lie.