5 thoughts on “The Recruiting Officer

  1. According to the introduction in this edition of the play, The Recruiting Officer is something of a transitional play between Restoration comedy proper and 18th century drama (which was much more limited, less interesting, and less entertaining). I haven’t read widely enough in either Restoration or 18th century drama–though I’ve read more Restoration comedy–to really be able to identify a clear dividing line in themes or styles. However, I think Farquhar’s play is an interesting divergence fr

  2. From BBC Radio 3 – Drama on 3:
    George Farquhar’s popular Restoration Comedy. During a lull in the War of the Spanish Succession, Captain Plume comes to Shrewsbury, to seduce soldiers into the army, and – if possible – recruit Silvia into marriage.

    The Recruiting Officer enjoyed enormous success and popular acclaim during the eighteenth century, when it was produced more often than any other play, outstripping its nearest rival, Hamlet, by a wide margin. Part of BBC Radio 3’s 18th Century Season.


  3. I’ve recently read a lot of restoration comedies, and the later works of Goldsmith and Sheridan, plus one Elizabethan “city comedy”, The Roaring Girl.

    There is a progression with the earliest plays the most explicit, and the latter more refined. But I’ve enjoyed them all. The characters have different sensibilities, but most are sympathetic.

    However, I found the The Recruiting Officer differs from the others. It has all the elements of the restoration comedy, the bawdiness, the scheming, etc., but

  4. Originally published on my blog here in August 2000.

    Today we probably think of compulsory enlistment as a feature of the eighteenth century British navy rather than the army, mainly because it features strongly in such well known fiction as the Hornblower series. However, during the wars of the early part of the century, the Press Act allowed the involuntary recruitment of those with no visible means of support, and so army officers toured the country, to encourage voluntary enlistment with all

  5. The play lightly critiques military service in the early eighteenth century in England. It is cheerfully bawdy. The plot was too predictable and the humour too silly for me to like it, though I liked a scene where a recruiting officer pretends to be a fortune teller as a way to get recruits and help his friends with their romances.

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