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Comedy of Manners Plays

A comedy of manners is a type of satire, usually with witty dialogue, that pokes fun at the social conventions of a particular group, generally involving pretention and hypocrisy. See also:

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (3 Acts)

Jack, who goes by the name Earnest when he’s in the city, wants to marry Gwendolyn. She accepts because she has always wanted to love someone named Earnest. Lady Bracknell is against the marriage. Earnest’s friend, Algernon, introduces himself to Cecily as Earnest. He proposes to Cecily, only to find she is way ahead of him.

School for Scandal by Richard Sheridan (5 Acts)

Lady Sneerwell is plotting to destroy the romance of Charles because she wants him. There is much gossip and slander. Sir Peter and his wife argue about her spending habits. Sir Oliver returns to test his nephews – he has money to leave and wants the recipient to be worthy.

Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde (4 Acts)

Lady Windermere prepares for her birthday party that evening. She’s visited by the Duchess of Berwick, who says Lord Windermere has been spending time and money on a Mrs. Erlynne. Lady Windermere checks her husband’s desk for confirmation.

The Philadelphia Story by Philip Barry

Tracy and her family plan her wedding to George Kittredge. Her ex-husband, Dexter, is also in town. The wedding preparation encounters various obstacles.

The Misanthrope by Molière (5 Acts)

Alceste and Philinte disagree on how sincere and honest one should be in social interactions. Alceste believes in complete honesty, while Philinte believes in showing tact, especially to influential people. Alceste loves Célimène, a woman who flirts with many men. He’s also involved in a lawsuit.

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