It attests to Farquhar's stature as a man that he composed thiswarm-hearted and vibrant play while he was dying. Like The RecruitingOfficer, the play is set in a provincial town and its plot is slight:Aimwell and Archer, two impecunious London gentlemen, arrive inLichfield looking for an heiress to marry. Aimwell, posing as his elderbrother, falls in love with his 'prey' Dorinda and confesses hisimposture to her, his 'man-servant' Archer arouses the wistful interestof the unhappily married Mrs Sullen. The introduction to this editiondiscusses the play for its theatrical merits and argues that itdramatises the ills of marriage in early modern England, shown byFarquhar to be more injurious to the wife than to the husband, andcalls for a reform of the divorce laws.
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