The School for Scandal

Sir Peter Teazle Character Analysis

An older man with fixed habits, Sir Peter married the much younger Lady Teazle seven months before the play begins and is having trouble adapting to married life. Sir Peter believes that he is always right and is inflexible in arguments with his wife, but he admires her skill at arguing her point and finds her even more attractive for the way she stands up to him. Sir Peter is also serving as a guardian to Maria, who is in love with Charles Surface. Sir Peter opposes their match. He is an old friend of Sir Oliver Surface’s and served as a guardian for Charles and Joseph Surface. Sir Peter admires Joseph and strongly disapproves of Charles.

Sir Peter Teazle Quotes in The School for Scandal

The The School for Scandal quotes below are all either spoken by Sir Peter Teazle or refer to Sir Peter Teazle. 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

SIR PETER. When an old bachelor marries a young wife, what is he to expect? ‘Tis now six months since Lady Teazle made me the happiest of men—and I have been the most miserable dog ever since! We tifted a little going to church, and fairly quarrelled before the bells had done ringing. I was more than once nearly choked with gall during the honeymoon, and had lost all comfort in life before my friends had done wishing me joy. Yet I chose with caution—a girl bred wholly in the country, who never knew luxury beyond one silk gown, nor dissipation above the annual gala of a race ball. Yet now she plays her part in all the extravagant fopperies of the fashion and the town, with as ready a grace as if she had never seen a bush or a grass-plot out of Grosvenor Square! I am sneered at by all my acquaintance, and paragraphed in the newspapers. She dissipates my fortune, and contradicts all my humours; yet, the worst of it is, I doubt I love her, or I should never bear all this. However, I'll never be weak enough to own it.

Related Characters: Sir Peter Teazle (speaker), Lady Teazle
Page Number: 10-11
Explanation and Analysis:
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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
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

LADY TEAZLE. My extravagance! I'm sure I'm not more extravagant than a woman of fashion ought to be.

SIR PETER. No, no, madam, you shall throw away no more sums on such unmeaning luxury. 'Slife! to spend as much to furnish your dressingroom with flowers in winter as would suffice to turn the Pantheon into a greenhouse, and give a fête champêtre at Christmas.

LADY TEAZLE. And am I to blame, Sir Peter, because flowers are dear in cold weather? You should find fault with the climate, and not with me. For my part, I'm sure, I wish it was spring all the year round, and that roses grew under our feet!

Related Characters: Lady Teazle (speaker), Sir Peter Teazle (speaker)
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

SIR PETER. Madam, madam, I beg your pardon—there’s no stopping these good gentlemen's tongues. —But when I tell you, Mrs. Candour, that the lady they are abusing is a particular friend of mine, I hope you'll not take her part.

LADY SNEERWELL. Ha! ha! ha! Well said, Sir Peter! but you are a cruel creature, —too phlegmatic yourself for a jest, and too peevish to allow wit in others.

SIR PETER. Ah! madam, true wit is more nearly allied to good-nature than your ladyship is aware of.

LADY TEAZLE. True, Sir Peter: I believe they are so near akin that they can never be united.

SIR BENJAMIN. Or rather, madam, suppose them to be man and wife, because one seldom sees them together.

Related Characters: Lady Teazle (speaker), Sir Peter Teazle (speaker), Lady Sneerwell (speaker), Sir Benjamin Backbite (speaker)
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:
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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 4, Scene 3 Quotes

JOSEPH. Ah! my dear madam, there is the great mistake: 'tis this very conscious innocence that is of the greatest prejudice to you. What is it makes you negligent of forms, and careless of the world's opinion? why, the consciousness of your own innocence. What makes you thoughtless in your conduct, and apt to run into a thousand little imprudences? —why, the consciousness of your own innocence. What makes you impatient of Sir Peter's temper, and outrageous at his suspicions? —why, the consciousness of your innocence.

LADY TEAZLE. 'Tis very true!

JOSEPH. Now, my dear Lady Teazle, if you would but once make a trifling faux pas, you can't conceive how cautious you would grow, and how ready to humour and agree with your husband.

LADY TEAZLE. Do you think so?

JOSEPH. Oh! I am sure on't; and then you would find all scandal would cease at once, for, in short, your character at present is like a person in a plethora, absolutely dying from too much health.

Related Characters: Lady Teazle (speaker), Joseph Surface / Mr. Surface (speaker), Lady Teazle, Sir Peter Teazle
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:
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No, sir, —she has recovered her senses, and your own arts have furnished her with the means. —Sir Peter, I do not expect you to credit me—but the tenderness you expressed for me, when I am sure you could not think I was a witness to it, has penetrated so to my heart, that had I left the place without the shame of this discovery, my future life should have spoken the sincerity of my gratitude. As for that smooth-tongued hypocrite, who would have seduced the wife of his too credulous friend, while he affected honourable addresses to his ward—I behold him now in a light so truly despicable, that I shall never again respect myself for having listened to him.

Page Number: 56-57
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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SIR PETER. Though, when it is known that we are reconciled, people will laugh at me ten times more.

ROWLEY. Let them laugh, and retort their malice only by showing them you are happy in spite of it.

SIR PETER. I’faith, so I will! and, if I’m not mistaken, we may yet be the happiest couple in the country.

ROWLEY. Nay, Sir Peter, he who once lays aside suspicion—

SIR PETER. Hold, Master Rowley! if you have any regard for me, never let me hear you utter anything like a sentiment: I have had enough of them to serve me the rest of my life.

Related Characters: Sir Peter Teazle (speaker), Mr. Rowley (speaker), Lady Teazle
Page Number: 69
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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Sir Peter Teazle Character Timeline in The School for Scandal

The timeline below shows where the character Sir Peter Teazle 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
...has asked him to spread. This rumor concerns a young woman named Maria, her guardian Sir Pete r Teazle, and the two Surface brothers, who were also Sir Peter’s wards for a... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...and malicious, which is why he is happy to conspire with her. Snake remarks that Sir Pete r is completely convinced of Joseph’s goodness, and Lady Sneerwell adds that Sir Peter is... (full context)
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Maria enters, looking upset. She tells Lady Sneerwell that she slipped away from Sir Pete r’s house because Sir Benjamin Backbite and his uncle Crabtree were there, and she hates... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
...is no way to keep people from talking, and that she has also heard that Sir Pete r and Lady Teazle have not been getting along. (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
The scene begins in Sir Pete r’s house. Sir Peter sits alone, lamenting the troubles in his marriage to himself. He... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rowley arrives and asks Sir Pete r how he is. Sir Peter says he is not well and never will be,... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Sir Pete r says he is also upset because his ward Maria will not agree to marry... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Rowley says he is sorry to hear that Sir Pete r has a low opinion of Charles, because the young man’s destiny will soon be... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Sir Pete r says to Rowley that Sir Oliver will tease him for having married, since they... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Sir Pete r and Lady Teazle are at home, quarreling as usual. Lady Teazle says she should... (full context)
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Sir Pete r says that to make such demands she must have forgotten the way she was... (full context)
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Lady Teazle then says she is off to Lady Sneerwell’s house. Sir Pete r says that he disapproves of his wife spending her time with a group of... (full context)
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Lady Teazle departs, reminding Sir Pete r that he promised to come to Lady Sneerwell’s, too. Left alone, Sir Peter says... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Sir Pete r arrives and, seeing that the entire group of gossipmongers is present, immediately concludes that... (full context)
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
...Joseph replies that she would not be so closed to his proposal and opposed to Sir Pete r’s wishes if she weren’t still in love with Charles. Maria says that no matter... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
...explains that Maria suspects the romance between him and Lady Teazle, and threatened to tell Sir Pete r. Suspicious, Lady Teazle asks if Joseph always kneels when trying to be convincing. Joseph... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Sir Oliver and Rowley are at Sir Pete r’s house, waiting for Sir Peter to come in. Sir Oliver laughs at Sir Peter... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Sir Pete r enters and he and Sir Oliver greet each other warmly. Sir Oliver is about... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Sir Pete r, Sir Oliver, and Rowley sit in Sir Peter’s house and discuss how Sir Oliver... (full context)
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...that Sir Oliver will find Charles to be generous despite all his extravagant spending, but Sir Pete r scoffs at this, saying there is no point in generosity if one has nothing... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Rowley tells Sir Pete r and Sir Oliver that he has also arranged for them to meet with a... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...plans on introducing Charles to a broker named “Mr. Premium” who may lend Charles money. Sir Pete r suggests that, since Charles has never met Mr. Premium, Sir Oliver can pretend to... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...at least forty or fifty percent, and as much as double, if Charles seems desperate. Sir Pete r suggests that Mr. Premium should complain to Charles about the Annuity Bill, a bill... (full context)
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Rowley leaves to fetch Snake and Sir Pete r says to himself that he hopes there is no affair between Charles and Lady... (full context)
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Lady Teazle enters and Sir Pete r says to himself that he would be happy if he “could tease her into... (full context)
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Sir Pete r continues to tell Lady Teazle they will never fight again, but then adds that... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...tells him that Joseph sold the house and all its contents to Charles, and that Sir Pete r thought this to be an extravagant act by Charles. Sir Oliver says it was... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
...house, Joseph is waiting for Lady Teazle, who is late. Joseph reflects to himself that Sir Pete r does not suspect him of having an affair with his wife, but he hopes... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Lady Teazle enters and sees Joseph looking serious. She complains that Sir Pete r is ill natured and jealous of Charles. She says she wishes that Sir Peter... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
...Teazle begins to complain that her friend Lady Sneerwell spreads rumors about her, which makes Sir Pete r even more suspicious. The worst part, she says, is that she is perfectly innocent... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
...Joseph reaches to take Lady Teazle’s hand, the servant walks in to tell him that Sir Pete r has arrived. Both Joseph and Lady Teazle panic: they can hear Sir Peter climbing... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Sir Pete r tells Joseph he believes that Charles and Lady Teazle are lovers. Joseph expresses disbelief,... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Sir Pete r says to Joseph that he wishes to make sure that he gives Lady Teazle... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Sir Pete r begins to talk about Joseph’s hope to marry Maria. Joseph tries to stop Sir... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
...come to see Joseph. Joseph orders the servant to tell Charles he is out, but Sir Pete r says he wants Charles to come up. He says he will hide in the... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Charles enters. He says he had heard Sir Pete r was with Joseph, and asks where he has gone. Joseph says Sir Peter avoided... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
...glances and even found them alone together. In a panic, Joseph whispers to Charles that Sir Pete r has overheard everything they have been saying. Over Joseph’s objections, Charles then pulls Sir... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
...tells Joseph that someone has come to see him. Joseph tries to persuade Charles and Sir Pete r to come downstairs with him, but Charles says he wants to spend some time... (full context)
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The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Charles and Sir Pete r exclaim in surprise. Charles asks Joseph, Sir Peter, and Lady Teazle what is going... (full context)
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The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
After an awkward silence, Joseph stammers that he can explain everything. Sir Pete r tells him to do so. Joseph gives a convoluted explanation, suggesting that Lady Teazle... (full context)
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The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Joseph objects, but Lady Teazle goes on. She says that, although she cannot expect Sir Pete r to trust her now, she was very touched by the tender way he talked... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...no mood to listen to other people’s problems after being caught with Lady Teazle by Sir Pete r. He feels sure that he now has no chance of marrying Maria. As Sir... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Mrs. Candour is at Sir Pete r’s door, attempting to convince the maid to let her in to visit Lady Teazle,... (full context)
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
...Benjamin says he is not sure which brother was involved, but he does hope that Sir Pete r’s wound will heal. The two ladies had not heard that a duel took place.... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
...Candour, Sir Benjamin, and Mr. Crabtree see Sir Oliver approach. They conclude that he is Sir Pete r’s doctor and ask him how the patient is recovering from his wounds. Sir Oliver... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Rowley arrives at Sir Pete r’s. He and Sir Oliver tell Sir Peter that they have seen both Charles and... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
...go to Joseph’s, where he will tell the Surface brothers his true identity. Rowley and Sir Pete r promise to meet him there. Sir Peter looks into the other room, where he... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
In Joseph’s library, Lady Sneerwell is criticizing Joseph for spoiling their plot. She believes that Sir Pete r will now support Charles and Maria’s marriage. Joseph is less upset, but Lady Sneerwell... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
...that his uncle doesn’t discover his true character, and Joseph replies that he is sure Sir Pete r will be too embarrassed to tell Sir Oliver what happened and that he will... (full context)
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Sir Pete r, Lady Teazle, Maria, and Rowley arrive. Sir Peter says he is glad that he... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
...she is glad to hear Charles is happy—though she knows that he loves someone else. Sir Pete r and Charles exclaim in confusion, but Maria says that Charles and Lady Sneerwell know... (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 Pete r says he hopes that Maria and Charles will live as happily as he and... (full context)