She Stoops to Conquer

by

Oliver Goldsmith

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on She Stoops to Conquer can help.

Mrs. Hardcastle Character Analysis

A vain, greedy, sentimental, and manipulative woman, Mrs. Hardcastle has lived all her life in the countryside but is obsessed with what is fashionable in the city. She has spoiled her son Tony and hopes to control him for as long as possible, even going so far as to lie to him about his age in order to keep him under her thumb. She is the guardian to her niece, Constance, whose father and mother are dead, and hopes to force her to marry Tony to keep Constance’s fortune in the family.

Mrs. Hardcastle Quotes in She Stoops to Conquer

The She Stoops to Conquer quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Hardcastle or refer to Mrs. Hardcastle. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Thrift Editions edition of She Stoops to Conquer published in 1991.
Prologue Quotes

MRS. HARDCASTLE. I vow, Mr. Hardcastle, you're very particular. Is there a creature in the whole country but ourselves, that does not take a trip to town now and then, to rub off the rust a little? There's the two Miss Hoggs, and our neighbour Mrs. Grigsby, go to take a month's polishing every winter.

HARDCASTLE. Ay, and bring back vanity and affectation to last them the whole year. I wonder why London cannot keep its own fools at home! In my time, the follies of the town crept slowly among us, but now they travel faster than a stage-coach. Its fopperies come down not only as inside passengers, but in the very basket.

MRS. HARDCASTLE. Ay, your times were fine times indeed; you have been telling us of them for many a long year. Here we live in an old rumbling mansion, that looks for all the world like an inn, but that we never see company. Our best visitors are old Mrs. Oddfish, the curate's wife, and little Cripplegate, the lame dancing-master; and all our entertainment your old stories of Prince Eugene and the Duke of Marlborough. I hate such old-fashioned trumpery.

HARDCASTLE. And I love it. I love everything that's old: old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine; and I believe, Dorothy (taking her hand), you'll own I have been pretty fond of an old wife.

Related Characters: Hardcastle (speaker), Mrs. Hardcastle (speaker)
Related Symbols: Inns
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 1 Quotes

HASTINGS. (To HARDCASTLE.) For my late attempt to fly off with your niece let my present confusion be my punishment. We are now come back, to appeal from your justice to your humanity. By her father’s consent, I first paid her my addresses, and our passions were first founded in duty.

MISS NEVILLE. Since his death, I have been obliged to stoop to dissimulation to avoid oppression. In an hour of levity, I was ready to give up my fortune to secure my choice. But I am now recovered from the delusion, and hope from your tenderness what is denied me from a nearer connection.

MRS. HARDCASTLE. Pshaw, pshaw! this is all but the whining end of a modern novel.

Related Characters: Constance Neville (speaker), George Hastings (speaker), Mrs. Hardcastle (speaker), George Hastings
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire She Stoops to Conquer LitChart as a printable PDF.
She Stoops to Conquer PDF

Mrs. Hardcastle Character Timeline in She Stoops to Conquer

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Hardcastle appears in She Stoops to Conquer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Class and Geography Theme Icon
Fashions and Tastes Theme Icon
The play begins in a room in an old-fashioned house, where Mrs. Hardcastle is complaining to her husband, Hardcastle, about never going to London on a holiday. Hardcastle... (full context)
Class and Geography Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
...any discretion: she has spoiled her son and he is badly behaved and badly educated. Mrs. Hardcastle says her son doesn’t need an education because he will have a fortune of fifteen-hundred... (full context)
Class and Geography Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
...house, and his mother asks him to spend time with her and Hardcastle. Tony tells Mrs. Hardcastle that he is on his way to the alehouse to meet his friends and cannot... (full context)
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
...her mother is still trying to convince her to marry Tony, and Constance says that Mrs. Hardcastle continues to try to force the courtship to work. Kate says Mrs. Hardcastle is naturally... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
...guardian to marry Tony. In the meantime, she pretends that she loves Tony so that Mrs. Hardcastle will not suspect her of loving someone else. Kate says that they’re lucky that Tony... (full context)
Act 2
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
...of her cousin Tony’s. Hastings asks if this is the same cousin that her aunt, Mrs. Hardcastle , wants her to marry. Constance answers that it is, but that Tony himself has... (full context)
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
...behind the jewels she inherited from her uncle, but she has been trying to convince Mrs. Hardcastle to let her wear them and thinks that she is making some progress in persuading... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Class and Geography Theme Icon
Fashions and Tastes Theme Icon
Tony and Constance enter, followed by Hastings and Mrs. Hardcastle . Constance flirts with Tony, but he tells her to leave him alone because he... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Fashions and Tastes Theme Icon
Mrs. Hardcastle complains about Hardcastle’s old-fashioned insistence on continuing to wear a wig. She also asks Hastings... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Mrs. Hardcastle points out the way Constance and Tony flirt, telling Hastings that they will be married.... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Angry at being babied by his mother, Tony says that if he is grown, Mrs. Hardcastle should stop making a fool of him and give him his fortune. She charges him... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Class and Geography Theme Icon
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
Tony sings a little song to himself, then tells Hastings not to worry about Mrs. Hardcastle ’s distress. Hastings asks if Tony has no interest in women. Tony answers that he... (full context)
Act 3
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
...Hastings enters and asks Tony if he has been pretending to love Constance so that Mrs. Hardcastle will not suspect the planned elopement. Tony does not answer this question, instead telling Hastings... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Fashions and Tastes Theme Icon
Tony sees Mrs. Hardcastle and Constance approaching and tells Hastings to run off. Hastings exits, and Constance and Mrs.... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
...the only way to shut Constance up is to tell her the jewels are lost. Mrs. Hardcastle thinks this is a funny idea and agrees, asking Tony to back up her story.... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Mrs. Hardcastle rushes back in, shouting that the jewels have been stolen. Tony commends his mother’s ability... (full context)
Act 4
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
...as he had asked. (The “landlady” is in fact not a landlady at all, but Mrs. Hardcastle .)  The servant says that he had done as told, and that the landlady had... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
...the better idea of giving them to the landlady. Hastings is shocked and disappointed that Mrs. Hardcastle now has the jewels again. He says to himself that he has lost any hope... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
Tony and Constance enter. Tony says it’s a shame that Mrs. Hardcastle has gotten Constance’s jewels back, but at least she believes that they were mislaid by... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Fashions and Tastes Theme Icon
Diggory enters with a message for Tony, but Tony tells Diggory to give it to Mrs. Hardcastle to read aloud. Constance recognizes Hastings’ handwriting on the note. She tries to distract Mrs.... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Mrs. Hardcastle reads the letter and is shocked and furious at its contents. In it, Hastings requests... (full context)
Class and Geography Theme Icon
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
A servant enters and tells Constance that Mrs. Hardcastle wants her to come to the carriage immediately. Marlow and Hastings continue to argue. Constance... (full context)
Act 5
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Class and Geography Theme Icon
Fashions and Tastes Theme Icon
...overjoyed to see him when he arrives. Hastings asks Tony where he left Constance and Mrs. Hardcastle . Tony jokes with him that he left them where he found them, but Hastings... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Fashions and Tastes Theme Icon
Mrs. Hardcastle enters. She is afraid, covered in mud, and under the impression that they are lost... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Hardcastle approaches Tony and asks if he left Mrs. Hardcastle at Aunt Pedigree’s. Tony answers that the women are safe at his aunt’s, and coughs... (full context)
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Realizing that she has been tricked, Mrs. Hardcastle turns angrily on Tony. Tony tells her that everyone says she spoiled him, and this... (full context)
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
...him immediately, but Constance says she is too tired and stressed after the ordeal with Mrs. Hardcastle to elope that night. Hastings tries to convince her, saying they will never regret leaving... (full context)
Class and Geography Theme Icon
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Mrs. Hardcastle and Tony enter the room. Mrs. Hardcastle says that Constance and Hastings have run off.... (full context)
Class and Geography Theme Icon
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
To Mrs. Hardcastle ’s displeasure, Constance and Hastings enter at that moment. They approach Hardcastle and lay their... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Mrs. Hardcastle scoffs at Constance and Tony, but Hardcastle asks Tony whether he in fact refuses to... (full context)
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
...will not marry his cousin, which frees Constance to marry Hastings and keep her fortune. Mrs. Hardcastle is discontented, but all the other characters rejoice and look forward to the two couples’... (full context)