David Garrick, a famous actor and theatrical producer, wrote the Prologue, which was originally recited by an actor who refused to play the part of Tony. In it, he tells the audience that Goldsmith’s play is meant to rescue comedy, which he argues is no longer well-represented among theatrical productions of the day. Personifying Comedy as a sick woman, the prologue suggests that the play that follows is the cure prescribed to her by a doctor, the playwright. If the audience likes the play, then the doctor’s prescription can be said to have worked, and Comedy will be saved.
Garrick introduces the play as a comedy whose playwright intended to create something that differed meaningfully from other comedies of the day. Goldsmith (who wrote the play) published an essay prior to authoring She Stoops in which he lamented that comedies had become too sentimental and moralistic, and no longer seemed concerned with making people laugh.