Survival Strategies of an Heiress after the Glorious Revolution Revealed through Farquhar’s The Recruiting Officer: Silvia’s Disguise and Limitation

서영윤 /Yeong-Yoon Seo

2018, vol.28, no.3, pp. 387-413

The Glorious Revolution signaled the end of divine right kingship and changed the ideological frame. Hierarchy, however, was apparently safe, and birth remained a norm of social classification. Heirs and heiresses could not have a choice in mate selection. Besides, heiresses had to survive in a patriarchal system. Through Silvia in The Recruiting Officer, Farquhar presents the survival strategies of an heiress in post-Revolution English society. Silvia disguises her biological sex and outwits the patriarchal system in order not to lose her inheritance and love. She combines the two actions of the play—enlisting soldiers and getting spouses—by disguising herself as Jack Wilfull. Silvia finally achieves her goals, but she could not successfully gain them if her father, Justice Balance, and her lover, Plume, were not appropriate to the new ideological frame. Farquhar ends the play with Plume’s song, and Silvia’s success is overshadowed by the faithful lover, Plume.