What do you know about Sir Peter Teazle in Richard Brinsley Sheridan٫s play ‘ The School for Scandal ‘? Discuss in detail.
Sir Peter Teazle is a very important character in ‘ The School of Scandal ‘ a play by R.B. Sheridan. He is the guardian of two Surface brothers; Charles and Joseph. Maria, his ward is also under his guardianship. According to the play, the important points of Sir Peter’s character and his role in the play are discussed below :
Unhappy married life:
As a person studies ‘ The School for Scandal’, he comes to know that Sir Peter was very sad in his married life. He has married a woman who is very young in comparison to Mr.Teazle’s age. Before marriage, Mrs Teazle was living a simple life and her manners were also very humble, but after marriage, she became a fashionable woman. He is very angry with his wife because Lady Teazle (Sir Peter,s wife) is wasting his money in useless works without any hesitation.
Another cause of Sir Peter Teazle,s dejection is that his wife cantradidics him at every point. But Mr Teazle is not a person who can be called a fool. He is aware of the fact that if an old bachelor like him marries a young lady like Lady Teazle, must be ready for problems in married life.
Sir Peter expresses his grief in front of Rowley. He informs him that any time Mrs.Teazle starts a dispute with him (Sir Peter Teazle) and never takes the right side.
His hatred against scandalous gossiping :
In the first scene of act 1, one is introduced to Lady Sneerwell. She is the leader of Scandal-mongers. The other members of this group are; Joseph Surface, Mr Snake, Mrs Candour, Mr Benjamin Backbite and his uncle Crabtree etc.The main task of these people is to spread false stories and rumours about any gentle person and diminish his character.
Sir Peter Teazle does not like this group.He has so many complaints against these people, especially against Lady Sneerwell. In his opinion, it is her group who is the main cause of Lady Teazle’s rude behaviour towards him (Mr.Teazle).
He hates these Scandal mongers from the core of his heart. Sir Peter Teazle is angry with Lady Sneerwell and her group due to their scandalous gossiping. He makes his utmost efforts not to join this group. Sir Peter is shocked that these Scandal mongers do not show any mercy on even those people who are their friends and spread bad news about them. He is in support of making a law against Scandal-mongers.
He suspects Mrs.Teazle
Sir Peter Teazle becomes an easy prey of Lady sneerwell and company. He starts to believe those scandalous stories about Lady Teazle that are spread by scandal- mongers. Consequently, he suspects that his wife has an extramarital love-affair with Charles Surface.
Ironically, he goes to Joseph Surface for help, who is the real conspirator and the lover of Lady Teazle. Sir Peter Teazle requests him to investigate in this matter, so that he comes to know the reality. He trusts Joseph and tells him everything about Mrs.Teazle.Lady Teazle, who is hidden there, overhear the conversation between the two. Finally, the bad wishes of joseph are revealed and it clears the way for a settlement between Sir Peter and Lady Teazle without more squirrel.
A good friend
Since his young age, Sir Peter Teazle was a close friend of Sir Oliver. These two friends always laugh at married men. Both of them were determined not to marry in whole Life. It is Sir Peter, Who did not fulfil his promise and married a young woman.
Now, when he gets the news of Sir Oliver’s return from the east, after sixteen years, he becomes uncomfortable. He is sure that Sir Oliver will make fun of his married life.
Unable to judge Surface Brothers
Sir Peter Teazle is a person who believes in appearance. At first, he thought Joseph a good person and Charles a bad one. But, in reality, Charles was a hero and Joseph, a villain. When, Sir Peter, comes to know the characters of the two brothers, he admits his shortcomings and makes correct judgements.
Sir Peter is an important character in ‘The School for Scandal’. Quarrel with his own wife; being prey of scandal-mongers and judgement on the basis of appearance are some of his shortcomings. An opponent of rumours and rumours circulators; a witty person and admitting his mistakes etc. Are some of Sir Peter,s qualities that make him a memorable character of R.B.Sheridan’s play ‘The School for Scandal’.