The Double Dealer is a well-known dramatic work by William Congreve that was originally published in 1694. It is this dramatist’s second play. It is undoubtedly a comedy but features many touches of tragedy as well. In fact, the play is a study of various human relations as well as the social atmospheres in the Restoration period. The dramatist (William Congreve) provided much importance to these things:
- Three Unities
Congreve designed the moral first as well as invented the fable to suit it (moral). That is why The Double Dealer could not be proved as a popular as well as successful drama.
The Double Dealer Major Themes
William Congreve’s The Double Dealer belongs to a comedy of manners. It is equipped with many important/notable themes of comedy of manners such as:
- Adultery or Immortality – It is known as the dominant theme of Restoration comedy of manners. As far as the social atmosphere (particularly) of the upper class is concerned; it was full of (a) Immortality (b) Sexuality, as well as (c) Love Affairs. This theme is represented in The Double Dealers by almost all women characters with the exception of Cynthia. If Lady Touchwood is infatuated by Maskwell as well as Mellefont, Lady Plyant’s madness in love with Careless also can be seen easily. Whereas Froth runs after Brisk. All of the aforementioned (women) characters do have not much care for their husbands. Consequently, they are treated as if they are servants. In this way, licentious behavior is a significant theme in comedies of manners such as The Double Dealer.
- Love Intrigues (particularly in the case of women as well as their love affairs) is also an important theme of The Double Dealer by William Congreve. Here, Maskell, the expert (master) of Intrigues, uses it one after another as well as deceives many persons such as (a) Cynthia (b) Mellefont (c) Lady Touchwood, and others. Lady Plyant, Lady Touchwood, and Lady Froth support him. But, all of their Intrigues are disclosed. The result comes as the punishment for the vice and reward for the virtue.
- Generally, the husbands in the comedy of manners are not only foolish but weak as well. Sir Plyant, Lord Froth, as well as Lord Touchwood are examples of the aforementioned types of husbands (of that society) in the play The Double Dealer. All three men are: (a) Cuckolds (b) their wives have love affairs with other persons (cc) they are unable to do anything, so they behave like helpless and weak men. In this way, the wives dominate these husbands in every sense.
Love, Sex, as well as Marriage is other notable theme of Restoration comedy. Though in Congreve’s The Double Dealer true love is found between Mellefont and Cynthia and their marriage is also true as well as honest, the other marriages such as those of Lady Froth, Lady Plyant, as well as Lady Touchwood are for nothing but show.
Its reason is that even though they are married, they are having love affairs with other men. There is no importance of marriage near them and sexual relationship with men other than husbands was the fashion of the Restoration age. That is why society suffered a lot because of this problem.
Lady Touchwood(‘s) kissing Maskwell in his bedchamber at night as well as Lady Froth’s embracing Brisk throw light on such themes. In short, it can be said that in Restoration comedy of manners: (a) women are Coquettes (b) marriage is scoffed at, as well as (c) an attempt is made to rationalize sexual relationships as well.
Ques: Who set The Double Dealer to music?
Ans: It was Henry Purcell who set William Congreve’s play The Double Dealer to music.
Ques: How many acts are there in The Double Dealer?
Ans: There are five acts in The Double Dealer?
Ques: Who is Sir Paul Plyant?
Ans: Brother to Lady Touchwood as well as father to Cynthia, Sir Paul Plyant is a foolish, anxious, as well as old knight in William Congreve’s play The Double Dealer. He lives under the complete control of Lady Plyant. When he comes to know that there is a love relationship between his wife as well as Mellefont.