The Rivals

Squire Bob Acres Character Analysis

An impressionable and naïve country landowner, Acres is attempting to make himself more fashionable and sophisticated in order to win over the affections of Lydia Languish. His attempts to swear genteelly, learn French dances, and change his hairstyle all fall flat, however. Before Sir Anthony suggested Absolute as a partner for Lydia to Mrs. Malaprop, Malaprop supported Acres in his desire to marry her ward. Acres feels upset at then being put off and supposes that he is being supplanted by “Beverley.” Sir Lucius works him up and convinces him to challenge Beverley to a duel, but like the other elements of gentlemanly polish that Acres lacks, he lacks the courage required to fight and potentially die for his honor.

Squire Bob Acres Quotes in The Rivals

The The Rivals quotes below are all either spoken by Squire Bob Acres or refer to Squire Bob Acres. 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:
Sheridan and His World Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of The Rivals published in 1998.
Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

ACRES
Ha! ha! you've taken notice of it—'tis genteel, isn't it!—I didn't invent it myself though; but a commander in our militia, a great scholar, I assure you, says that there is no meaning in the common oaths, and that nothing but their antiquity makes them respectable;—because, he says, the ancients would never stick to an oath or two, but would say, by Jove! or by Bacchus! or by Mars! or by Venus! or by Pallas, according to the sentiment: so that to swear with propriety, says my little major, the oath should be an echo to the sense; and this we call the oath referential, or sentimental swearing—ha! ha! 'tis genteel, isn't it?
ABSOLUTE
Very genteel, and very new, indeed!—and I dare say will supplant all other figures of imprecation.

Related Characters: Captain Jack Absolute / Ensign Beverley (speaker), Squire Bob Acres (speaker)
Page Number: 17-18
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 3, Scene 4 Quotes

ACRES
But he has given me no provocation.
Sir LUCIUS
Now, I think he has given you the greatest provocation in the world. Can a man commit a more heinous offence against another than to fall in love with the same woman? Oh, by my soul! it is the most unpardonable breach of friendship.
ACRES
Breach of friendship! ay, ay; but I have no acquaintance with this man.
I never saw him in my life.
Sir LUCIUS
That's no argument at all—he has the less right then to take such a liberty.
ACRES
Gad, that's true—I grow full of anger, Sir Lucius!—I fire apace! Odds hilts and blades! I find a man may have a deal of valour in him, and not know it!

Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 4, Scene 1 Quotes

I say then, it would be but civil in honour never to risk the loss of a gentleman.—Look'ee, master, this honour seems to me to be a marvellous false friend: ay, truly, a very courtier-like servant.—Put the case, I was a gentleman (which, thank God, no one can say of me;) well—my honour makes me quarrel with another gentleman of my acquaintance.—So—we fight. (Pleasant enough that!) Boh!—I kill him—(the more's my luck!) now, pray who gets the profit of it?—Why, my honour. But put the case that he kills me!—by the mass! I go to the worms, and my honour whips over to my enemy.

Related Characters: David (speaker), Squire Bob Acres, Sir Lucius O’Trigger
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 5, Scene 3 Quotes

Sir LUCIUS
Upon my conscience, Mr. Acres, your valour has oozed away with a vengeance!
ACRES
Not in the least! Odds backs and abettors! I'll be your second with all my heart—and if you should get a quietus, you may command me entirely. I'll get you snug lying in the Abbey here; or pickle you, and send you over to Blunderbuss-hall, or anything of the kind, with the greatest pleasure.
Sir LUCIUS
Pho! pho! you are little better than a coward.
ACRES
Mind, gentlemen, he calls me a coward; coward was the word, by my valour!
Sir LUCIUS
Well, sir?
ACRES
Look'ee, Sir Lucius, 'tisn't that I mind the word coward—coward may be said in joke—But if you had called me a poltroon, odds daggers and balls——
Sir LUCIUS
Well, sir?
ACRES
I should have thought you a very ill-bred man.
Sir LUCIUS
Pho! you are beneath my notice.

Related Characters: Squire Bob Acres (speaker), Sir Lucius O’Trigger (speaker)
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:
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Squire Bob Acres Character Timeline in The Rivals

The timeline below shows where the character Squire Bob Acres appears in The Rivals. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologues
Sheridan and His World Theme Icon
...play on its first night, a prologue was performed by the actors playing Absolute and Acres. This prologue portrays a brief scene between an attorney and a court official, the serjeant-at-law,... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Courtship and Generational Conflict Theme Icon
...his son, and Mrs. Malaprop agrees, expressing the hope that Lydia will prefer Absolute to Acres, the first match she had chosen for her niece. Mrs. Malaprop asks Sir Anthony if... (full context)
False Identities and Artifice Theme Icon
...all the tips and presents she has been given while serving as a messenger for Acres, Ensign Beverley, Lydia, Mrs. Malaprop, and Sir Lucius O’Trigger. She has acted simple and uncalculating,... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Sheridan and His World Theme Icon
False Identities and Artifice Theme Icon
...to see her, but Absolute convinces him to stay and hear how she is from Acres, who lives near Sir Anthony and socializes with the family. Absolute tells Faulkland that Acres... (full context)
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Courtship and Generational Conflict Theme Icon
Acres enters and is introduced to Faulkland, whom he congratulates on being engaged to such a... (full context)
False Identities and Artifice Theme Icon
Language and Pretension Theme Icon
Acres asks if Faulkland had been upset, and Absolute flatters Acres by saying Faulkland had been... (full context)
Sheridan and His World Theme Icon
Courtship and Generational Conflict Theme Icon
Acres departs, and Absolute now waits anxiously for his father to enter. When Sir Anthony arrives,... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
Language and Pretension Theme Icon
In his lodgings, Acres and his servant David discuss the changes Acres has made to his appearance. David says... (full context)
Language and Pretension Theme Icon
David leaves, and Acres practices dancing, but complains that although he is fine at dancing English country dances, he... (full context)
False Identities and Artifice Theme Icon
Language and Pretension Theme Icon
Courtship and Generational Conflict Theme Icon
Sir Lucius, a friend of Acres, enters and asks why Acres has come to Bath. Acres explains that he has come... (full context)
Sheridan and His World Theme Icon
Language and Pretension Theme Icon
Gentlemanly Honor and Dueling Theme Icon
Sir Lucius asks if Acres’s rival has taken his place unfairly, to which Acres unthinkingly agrees. Sir Lucius says it... (full context)
Language and Pretension Theme Icon
Gentlemanly Honor and Dueling Theme Icon
Acres says he feels as though he is discovering his own valor as Sir Lucius works... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Language and Pretension Theme Icon
Gentlemanly Honor and Dueling Theme Icon
Acres’s servant David is trying to discourage his master from sending the letter challenging Beverley to... (full context)
Language and Pretension Theme Icon
Gentlemanly Honor and Dueling Theme Icon
Acres begins to get nervous about the duel and asks David if he really thinks he... (full context)
False Identities and Artifice Theme Icon
Gentlemanly Honor and Dueling Theme Icon
Absolute asks why he has been sent for, and Acres shows him the challenge. Absolute reads the letter, then asks if Acres really intends to... (full context)
False Identities and Artifice Theme Icon
Gentlemanly Honor and Dueling Theme Icon
...his father is downstairs looking for him. As Absolute gets ready to take his leave, Acres adds an extra request: that, while delivering the letter, Absolute intimidate Beverley and tell him... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Gentlemanly Honor and Dueling Theme Icon
...agrees to meet Sir Lucius at King’s-Mead-Fields at six o’clock, which is the same time Acres has set for his duel with Beverley. Sir Lucius says it will be too dark... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Language and Pretension Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Gentlemanly Honor and Dueling Theme Icon
...concerned in the fates of the men involved, Fag and David reveal that Captain Absolute, Acres, and Faulkland are involved in a duel. Julia says that they should hasten to the... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
Sheridan and His World Theme Icon
Gentlemanly Honor and Dueling Theme Icon
Sir Lucius and Acres are awaiting their opponents in King’s-Mead-Fields. Sir Lucius is coaching Acres in the correct conduct... (full context)
False Identities and Artifice Theme Icon
Gentlemanly Honor and Dueling Theme Icon
...as a combatant in one duel and a second in the duel between Beverley and Acres. Acres is shocked to see Absolute and Faulkland appear, when he had expected Beverley. Sir... (full context)
Sheridan and His World Theme Icon
False Identities and Artifice Theme Icon
Language and Pretension Theme Icon
Gentlemanly Honor and Dueling Theme Icon
...fight both as Absolute and as Beverley. Sir Lucius counts this as lucky, since now Acres will be able to fight after all. Acres refuses categorically to fight his friend Absolute,... (full context)
False Identities and Artifice Theme Icon
Courtship and Generational Conflict Theme Icon
Acres gives up any claim to Lydia, saying he would rather remain a bachelor than fight... (full context)
Sheridan and His World Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Gentlemanly Honor and Dueling Theme Icon
Sir Lucius wishes the couples good luck and Acres promises to put together a party for them. Sir Anthony announces that the single men... (full context)