The School for Scandal

A warmhearted but hard-partying man, the younger Surface brother is known around town for his extravagance. Charles has spent all of the massive fortune he was given by his uncle Sir Oliver and is in huge quantities of debt, but he is presented as essentially moral and good at heart. Because of his qualities of loyalty, kindness, and unpretentiousness, it’s suggested that he will eventually mend his ways and grow into a respectable representative of the Surface family. Charles is in love with Maria, and ultimately becomes her fiancé and the heir to Sir Oliver Surface.

Charles Surface Quotes in The School for Scandal

The The School for Scandal quotes below are all either spoken by Charles Surface or refer to Charles Surface. 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:
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of The School for Scandal published in 1991.
Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

ROWLEY. You know, Sir Peter, I have always taken the liberty to differ with you on the subject of these two young gentlemen. I only wish you may not be deceived in your opinion of the elder. For Charles, my life on't! he will retrieve his errors yet. Their worthy father, once my honoured master, was, at his years, nearly as wild a spark; yet, when he died, he did not leave a more benevolent heart to lament his loss.

SIR PETER. You are wrong, Master Rowley. On their father's death, you know, I acted as a kind of guardian to them both, till their uncle Sir Oliver's liberality gave them an early independence: of course, no person could have more opportunities of judging of their hearts, and I was never mistaken in my life. Joseph is indeed a model for the young men of the age. He is a man of sentiment, and acts up to the sentiments he professes; but for the other, take my word for't, if he had any grain of virtue by descent, he has dissipated it with the rest of his inheritance. Ah! my old friend, Sir Oliver, will be deeply mortified when he finds how part of his bounty has been misapplied.

Page Number: 11
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Act 2, Scene 3 Quotes

SIR PETER. Wild!—Ah! my old friend, I grieve for your disappointment there; he’s a lost young man, indeed. However, his brother will make you amends. Joseph is, indeed, what a youth should be. Everybody in the world speaks well of him.

SIR OLIVER. I am sorry to hear it; he has too good a character to be an honest fellow. Everybody speaks well of him!—Pshaw! then he has bowed as low to knaves and fools as to the honest dignity of genius and virtue.

SIR PETER. What, Sir Oliver! do you blame him for not making enemies?

SIR OLIVER. Yes, if he has merit enough to deserve them.

SIR PETER. Well, well—you’ll be convinced when you know him. ’Tis edification to hear him converse; he professes the noblest sentiments.

SIR OLIVER. Oh, plague of his sentiments! If he salutes me with a scrap of morality in his mouth, I shall be sick directly. —But, however, don’t mistake me, Sir Peter; I don’t mean to defend Charles’s errors: but, before I form my judgment of either of them, I intend to make a trial of their hearts; and my friend Rowley and I have planned something for the purpose.

Page Number: 23-24
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

SIR OLIVER. Sir, I understand you have lately had great dealings with my nephew, Charles.

MOSES. Yes, Sir Oliver, I have done all I could for him; but he was ruined before he came to me for assistance.

SIR OLIVER. That was unlucky, truly; for you have had no opportunity of showing your talents.

MOSES. None at all; I hadn't the pleasure of knowing his distresses till he was some thousands worse than nothing.

SIR OLIVER. Unfortunate, indeed! –But I suppose you have done all in your power for him, honest Moses?

Related Characters: Sir Oliver Surface / Mr. Premium / Mr. Stanley (speaker), Moses (speaker), Charles Surface
Related Symbols: Jews and Anti-Semitism
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 3, Scene 3 Quotes

CHARLES. Not much, indeed; unless you have a mind to the family pictures. I have got a room full of ancestors above, and if you have a taste for paintings, egad', you shall have 'em a bargain.

SIR OLIVER. Hey! what the devil! sure, you wouldn't sell your forefathers, would you?

CHARLES. Every man of them to the best bidder.

SIR OLIVER. What! your great-uncles and aunts?

CHARLES. Ay, and my great-grandfathers and grandmothers too.

SIR OLIVER. Now I give him up. [Aside.] What the plague, have you no bowels for your own kindred? Odd's life, do you take me for Shylock in the play, that you would raise money of me on your own flesh and blood?

CHARLES. Nay, my little broker, don't be angry: what need you care if you have your money's worth?

SIR OLIVER. Well, I'll be the purchaser: I think I can dispose of the family canvas. Oh, I'll never forgive him this! never!

Related Characters: Charles Surface (speaker), Sir Oliver Surface / Mr. Premium / Mr. Stanley (speaker)
Related Symbols: Jews and Anti-Semitism, Heirlooms
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 4, Scene 1 Quotes

CHARLES. Bravo, Careless! —Well, here’s my great-uncle, Sir Richard Raveline, a marvelous good general in his day, I assure you. He served in all the Duke of Marlborough’s wars, and got that cut over his eye at the battle of Malplaquet. —What say you, Mr. Premium? —look at him—there’s a hero! not cut out of his feathers, as your modern clipped captains are, but enveloped in wig and regimentals, as a general should be. What do you bid?

MOSES. Mr. Premium would have you speak.

CHARLES. Why, then, he shall have him for ten pounds, and I’m sure that’s not dear for a staff officer.

SIR OLIVER. Heaven deliver me! his famous uncle Richard for ten pounds! [Aside.] —Well, sir, I take him at that.

Related Characters: Charles Surface (speaker), Sir Oliver Surface / Mr. Premium / Mr. Stanley (speaker), Moses (speaker)
Related Symbols: Heirlooms
Page Number: 41-42
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 5, Scene 2 Quotes

SIR BENJAMIN. Aye, there; I told you Mr. Surface was the man.

MRS. CANDOUR. No, no, indeed; the assignation was with Charles.

LADY SNEERWELL. With Charles! You alarm me, Mrs. Candour!

MRS. CANDOUR. Yes, yes, he was the lover. Mr. Surface, to do him justice, was only the informer.

SIR BENJAMIN. Well, I’ll not dispute with you, Mrs. Candour; but, be it which it may, I hope that Sir Peter’s wound will not—

MRS. CANDOUR. Sir Peter’s wound! Oh, mercy! I didn’t hear a word of their fighting.

LADY SNEERWELL. Nor I, a syllable.

SIR BENJAMIN. No! what, no mention of the duel?

MRS. CANDOUR. Not a word.

SIR BENJAMIN. O Lord, yes, yes: they fought before they left the room.

LADY SNEERWELL. Pray, let us hear.

MRS. CANDOUR. Aye, do oblige us with the duel.

Page Number: 63-64
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 5, Scene 3 Quotes

SIR OLIVER. Odd’s heart, no more can I; nor with gravity either. —Sir Peter, do you know the rogue bargained with me for all his ancestors; sold me judges and generals by the foot, and maiden aunts as cheap as broken china.

CHARLES. To be sure, Sir Oliver, I did make a little free with the family canvas, that’s the truth on’t. My ancestors may rise in judgment against me, there’s no denying it; but believe me sincere when I tell you—and upon my soul I would not say so if I was not—that if I do not appear mortified at the exposure of my follies, it is because I feel at this moment the warmest satisfaction in seeing you, my liberal benefactor.

Related Symbols: Heirlooms
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:
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LADY SNEERWELL. The torments of shame and disappointment on you all.–

LADY TEAZLE. Hold, Lady Sneerwell,—before you go, let me thank you for the trouble you and that gentleman have taken, in writing letters from me to Charles, and answering them yourself; and let me also request you to make my respects to the scandalous college, of which you are president, and inform them, that Lady Teazle, licentiate, begs leave to return the diploma they gave her, as she leaves off practice, and kills characters no longer.

LADY SNEERWELL. You too, madam—provoking—insolent—May your husband live these fifty years!

Related Characters: Lady Teazle (speaker), Lady Sneerwell (speaker), Sir Peter Teazle, Charles Surface
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:
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Charles Surface Character Timeline in The School for Scandal

The timeline below shows where the character Charles Surface appears in The School for Scandal. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
...for a time after their father’s death. Snake says that he knows that Maria and Charles (the younger Surface brother) are in love, although Charles has a reputation for being an... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Lady Sneerwell explains that she is really in love with the bankrupt big-spender Charles, not Joseph. Joseph, meanwhile, wants to marry his brother’s beloved Maria (although only because she... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
...Snake to keep their secret. Joseph praises Snake’s trustworthiness. Lady Sneerwell asks after Maria and Charles. Joseph says he has not seen either of them, but he reports that Maria has... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
...really will be doing a good deed by breaking up the romance between Maria and Charles. Charles, he says, could only be tamed by a woman like Lady Sneerwell. (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
...anything but scandal. Mrs. Candour then asks Maria what is going on with her and Charles, and says that the town talks of nothing but his extravagant spending. Maria says she... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...attacked behind their backs, and then asks Joseph if it is true that his brother Charles is ruined. Joseph says that his brother’s finances are very bad, and Mrs. Candour names... (full context)
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...has not heard this. Crabtree says Sir Oliver will be sad to see how badly Charles has grown up, but Joseph says he hopes no one has said anything to Sir... (full context)
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Maria finds it painful to listen to these things said about Charles. She says she feels sick and leaves. Lady Sneerwell sends Mrs. Candour to follow Maria... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Sir Benjamin and Crabtree leave, still remarking on Charles as they go. Lady Sneerwell laughs at how eager they are to continue gossiping. Joseph... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...his extravagant brother. Rowley says that he has a different opinion than Sir Peter on Charles and Joseph. Rowley says that his late master, the Surface brother’s father, was also badly... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Rowley says he is sorry to hear that Sir Peter has a low opinion of Charles, because the young man’s destiny will soon be determined—Sir Oliver has arrived back in England.... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
...his proposal and opposed to Sir Peter’s wishes if she weren’t still in love with Charles. Maria says that no matter what she feels for Charles, seeing that Joseph no longer... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...swearing to always remain a bachelor, then asks Rowley about Sir Peter’s negative feelings towards Charles. Rowley explains that Sir Peter is prejudiced against Charles partially because of rumors spread by... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
...to mock Sir Peter for marrying, but Rowley warns him off. Sir Oliver asks after Charles, and Sir Peter says that Charles is a lost cause, but Joseph is exactly as... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...but while Joseph has only vaguely promised to help in the future if he can, Charles is currently trying to raise money for him. (full context)
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...given permission to leave prison to ask for their help in person. Since Joseph and Charles have never met Stanley and do not remember Sir Oliver, Sir Oliver can pretend to... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...them to meet with a Jewish moneylender, Moses, who can give them a sense of Charles’s financial position. Rowley says that Moses has “done everything in his power to bring your... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...hears that Moses has done business with his nephew, and Moses says he has, but Charles was ruined before he ever turned to him. Sir Oliver says this meant Moses “had... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...if he is too well dressed to be a moneylender. The others tell him that Charles would not suspect anything even if “Mr. Premium” arrived in a fancy carriage, so long... (full context)
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
...Snake and Sir Peter says to himself that he hopes there is no affair between Charles and Lady Teazle. He plans to speak to Joseph about his suspicions. Maria approaches and... (full context)
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...and died. Enraged, Sir Peter says that he now believes the reports about her and Charles. Lady Teazle says she will not listen to these groundless accusations. Sir Peter says they... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Sir Oliver, pretending to be “Mr. Premium,” arrives at Charles’s house with Moses. While Charles’s servant Trip is telling Charles that he has a visitor,... (full context)
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Trip returns and says Charles has asked them to wait. Sir Oliver, pretending to be “Mr. Premium,” asks Trip whether... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
In another room of Charles Surface’s house, a group of young men are laughing and drinking. Charles drinks and urges... (full context)
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Trip enters and Charles says he must excuse himself to talk to a Jew and a broker who have... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Moses begins to make an elaborate introduction between “Mr. Premium” and Charles, but Charles cuts him off. He quickly summarizes the situation: he is an extravagant young... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
“Mr. Premium” asks Charles what possessions he has that he can offer as collateral. He learns that Charles has... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Mr. Premium says that these are not good terms. Charles asks Mr. Premium if he worries that Sir Oliver will live too long, and assures... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
The auction of the family portraits is conducted in the picture room in Charles’s house. Charles asks Careless to serve as the auctioneer and, laughing, gives him a rolled-up... (full context)
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Charles proposes that the remaining family portraits be sold wholesale for three hundred pounds. “Mr. Premium”... (full context)
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Rowley approaches and Careless leaves the room, first telling Charles not to let his father’s old steward persuade him to pay his debts with the... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
In the parlor in Charles’s home, Moses says to Sir Oliver that it is a shame Charles is so extravagant,... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
...sees Joseph looking serious. She complains that Sir Peter is ill natured and jealous of Charles. She says she wishes that Sir Peter would allow Maria and Charles to marry, because... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Sir Peter tells Joseph he believes that Charles and Lady Teazle are lovers. Joseph expresses disbelief, and Sir Peter replies that Joseph’s morality... (full context)
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Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
A servant enters and announces that Charles has come to see Joseph. Joseph orders the servant to tell Charles he is out,... (full context)
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The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Charles enters. He says he had heard Sir Peter was with Joseph, and asks where he... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Charles says he is surprised that Joseph would think that he and Lady Teazle are having... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
...enters and tells Joseph that someone has come to see him. Joseph tries to persuade Charles and Sir Peter to come downstairs with him, but Charles says he wants to spend... (full context)
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The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Charles and Sir Peter exclaim in surprise. Charles asks Joseph, Sir Peter, and Lady Teazle what... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...Mr. Stanley waiting. Mr. Stanley says he has decided to come to ask Joseph and Charles for money because he fears that his poverty may discredit the family’s reputation for wealth.... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...goodbye to one another with elaborate shows of politeness. Sir Oliver whispers to himself that Charles will be his heir, and leaves. Joseph says to himself that a reputation for charity... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...Stanley is out of reach. Rowley tells Joseph that he will bring Sir Oliver and Charles to his house in fifteen minutes, and then departs. Joseph curses his bad luck that... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
...discovered Lady Teazle with Joseph Surface, but Mrs. Candour insists that the affair was with Charles. Lady Sneerwell arrives and expresses pity for Lady Teazle, then immediately launches into a discussion... (full context)
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
...wounded. It emerges that Crabtree, like Mrs. Candour, believes that Lady Teazle was found with Charles, not Joseph. They all argue, and Crabtree gives an extremely detailed account of what happened... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
...at Sir Peter’s. He and Sir Oliver tell Sir Peter that they have seen both Charles and Joseph, and Sir Oliver agrees with Sir Peter’s assessment: Joseph is “a man of... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
...is criticizing Joseph for spoiling their plot. She believes that Sir Peter will now support Charles and Maria’s marriage. Joseph is less upset, but Lady Sneerwell says that this is because... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...leave, and Joseph is calling for the servant to drag him from the house when Charles arrives. Charles asks why Joseph is treating his broker “Mr. Premium” so roughly. The two... (full context)
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...that he arrived in time to save Sir Oliver from being knocked down. Joseph and Charles realize Sir Oliver’s identity and are stunned. Sir Oliver says that he has discovered Joseph’s... (full context)
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Sir Oliver then begins to give his impression of Charles, but Joseph interrupts him, saying he wishes to explain himself. Sir Oliver will not listen... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Lady Teazle says that she believes Charles is even more anxious to make up with Maria than with his uncle. Maria does... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
...her, saying she knows that Lady Sneerwell started the false rumor about her affair with Charles, and that she wants nothing more to do with the group of gossipmongers. Joseph says... (full context)
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Everyone congratulates Maria and Charles on being able to marry now. Sir Peter says he hopes that Maria and Charles... (full context)