Sir Fretful Plagiary



  • A character in Sheridan's comedy The Critic(1779), who was intended as a caricature of the playwright RichardCumberland (1732 - 1811). Cumberland, the author of severalpopular comedies, found his sentimental style suddenly outmoded whenGoldsmith and Sheridan enjoyed their first successes. Anxiousto see these new comedies for himself, he took his children to thefirst night of The School for Scandal (1777); when the childrenlaughed at the play he furiously tried to restrain them, coldly informingthem that there was nothing at all to laugh at. Sheridan was incensedwhen he heard of the incident: "It was very ungrateful in Cumberlandto have been displeased with his poor children for laughing at mycomedy; for I went the other night to see his tragedy, and laughedat it from beginning to end." Sheridan took his revenge by satirizingCumberland at Sir Fretful, one of his great comic creations.