1. Through the whole piece you may observe such a similitude of manners in high and low life, that it is difficult to determine whether (in fashionable vices) the fine gentlemen imitate the gentlemen of the road, or the gentlemen of the road the fine gentlemen. Had the play remained as I at first intended, it would have carried a most excellent moral. `Twould have shown that the lower sort of people have their vices in a degree as well as the rich, and that they are punished for them.
Title – The Beggar`s Opera
Author – John Gay
Significance – In the writing of the play, the unfolding of the plot does not, in fact, reveal that the lower class people have vices similar to the rich and that they are punished for these. Rather, this statement sets up the plot for the audience to look at where this is contradicted and at how vices are viewed from the position of the rich and the position of the poor.
2. Then he`s so well-bred, so full of alacrity and adulation! –and has so much to say for himself, in such good language too! His physiognomy to grammatical! Then his presence is so noble! I protest, when I saw him, I thought of what Hamlet says in the play: `Hesperian curls! The front of Job himself! An eye, like March, to threaten at command! A Station, like Harry Mercury, new –` Something about kissing on a hill. However, the similitude struck me directly.
Significance – This statement clearly sets the stage for the elucidation of character. This is the first impression, and one which places the character on a pedestal. The language is lofty and adulatory. Of course, no person can remain on a pedestal, and this introduction leads the audience into looking for the flaws and the fall of the character.