Ideas for Project so far

For my final project I am leaning towards doing a paper on how She Stoops to Concur draws parallels from themes that occurred during the South Sea Company fiasco of the 1720’s. Although I am having some difficulty coming up with a decisive thesis statement, I was able to observe many interesting parallels between the events that led to the bursting of the South Sea Bubble, and the events depicted in Goldsmith’s comedy. Of course, the story is not intended to reflect the actions of the South Sea Company, but analyzing the motives and incentives of both the Hardcastle’s and of Charles Marlow, I believe I can find some interesting interpretations of the story that could correlate with the incentives of parties involved with the financial crisis.
The South Sea Company, whose incentives of course are to make money and prosper while in the position granted to them from the British government, becomes corrupted in their ways as their expected wealth becomes overhyped and their publicly traded company becomes overvalued. The Company lied to their shareholders in many instances and the management got out of the way before word got out to the public and their stock plummeted. Similarly, the Hardcastles in She Stoops to Concur each seem to have their own agendas in which they proceed in corrupted manner. Kate deceives Charles Marlow in order to fulfill her need to marry a member of her own class, but by pretending she is something else. This may resemble the South Sea Company auctioning stock to the public. The Company was able to sell stock at high levels by attracting investors through lies about their assumed international trading position. Although they did in fact hold a legal monopoly on all of Britain’t trade, the Spanish were much more reluctant to make trade with the Company than they let on to their shareholders, and thus creating the false identity and false attraction seen in the relationship between Kate and Charles.
There is also an interesting dynamic in sub plot of Goldsmith’s story between Hasting, Constance, and Lumpkin and the incentives of Mrs. Hardcastle. In order to preserve the family’s jewels which are Constance’s to inherit, Mrs. Hardcastle intends to force Constance to marry her half brother, while Constance in fact longs for Hasting. By lying about Lumpkins age, she follows the same line of deception seen in the events of the South Sea Bubble. The story is similar to the events during the South Sea Companies struggle to maintain their public image. By lying about how well they were performing their operations, they were able to deceive their shareholders and the general public about their value, and in turn their stock price kept rising. The correlation here is the fact that although Lumpkin is not 18 (the Company is not in fact performing as well as portrayed), Mrs. Hardcastle intends to maintain the family jewels (the Company wants to maintain their public image). Of course when the lie is found out (the public realizes that the Company is acting fraudulently), Constance decides to marry Hasting and the family jewels are lost (the value of the South Sea Company plummets as the bubble bursts). What is interesting here is the nature of a bursting financial bubble. The bubble is only burst as the supply of the stock exceeds the demand and the price begins to fade. For this to happen enough stock needs to be sold to tip the expectations of the entire public. So although many many people will eventually lose any hope for financial earnings during the bubble, a select few of the financially savvy and who are knowledgeable about finance (typically people of wealth or higher class) will be able to get out ahead and reap huge financial gains. The correlation with she stoops to concur in this instance is the fact tat Constance ends up marrying Hasting and the family jewel is transferred to Hastings future descendants. Hasting of course comes from a position of wealth and high class for otherwise Constance would not be attracted to him. In this analysis Hasting would be the upper class who was able to prosper despite attempts to deceive and maintain wealth by Mrs. Hardcastle or maintain value by the South Sea Company.
I know that so far this is pretty hairy and I’m not entirely sure what my argument is, or if I even have a sound analysis, but I think that there is definitely some interesting correlations going on between the story and the bubble. There is of course the entire Hardcastle Inn situation that I havent even touched on, but there is deception as well as a play on the class system that I could use for my paper. I am definitely going to have to think this through a little more, but here is where I am at thus far.


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