William Congreve, The Double Dealer

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The Double Dealer premiered in November 1693, the same year as Congreve’s successful first play, The Old Bachelor. Like any hot new playwright flush from his recent success, Congreve hoped to push the boundaries of comedy—and in this case, outright satire—in his second play, which more than held a mirror up to his audience; it cracked them over the head with it. Not surprisingly, the play did not please and caused something of a scandal, which Congreve acknowledged in his dedication to Charles Mountague. Chiefly, the audience seems to have been shocked by the actions of the upper-class women, who exchange partners and beds with astonishing rapidity: “[the ladies] are concerned that I have …

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Citation: Grasso, Joshua. "The Double Dealer". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 November 2018 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=1038, accessed 26 September 2023.]

1038 The Double Dealer 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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