George Farquhar

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George Farquhar (1677[1] – April 29, 1707) was an Irish dramatist. He is noted for his contributions to late Restoration comedy, particularly for his plays The Recruiting Officer (1706) and The Beaux' Stratagem (1707).


Early life

Born in Derry, Farquhar was one of seven children born to William Farquhar, a clergyman of modest means.[2] The author of "Memoirs of Mr. George Farquhar," a biographical sketch prefixed to certain 18th century editions[3] of his works, claims that Farquhar

He entered Trinity College, Dublin at age 17 as a sizar under the patronage of the Bishop of Dromore[5], who may have been related to Farquhar's mother.[2] Farquhar may have initially intended to follow his father's profession and become a clergyman,[6] but was "unhappy and rebellious as a student" and left college after two years to become an actor.[7] His 18th century biographer claims that the departure was because "his gay and volatile Disposition could not long relish the Gravity and Retirement of a College-life," [4] but another story of uncertain veracity has him being expelled from Trinity College due to a "profane jest."[8]

Acting career

Farquhar joined a company performing on the Dublin stage, probably through his acquaintance with the well-known actor Robert Wilks.[8] However, Farquhar was reportedly not that impressive as an actor. We are told that "his Voice was somewhat weak"[4] and that "his movements [were] stiff and ungraceful."[9] But he was well-received by audiences and thought to continue in this career "till something better should offer."[4] Some of the roles reportedly played by Farquhar were Lennox in Shakespeare's Macbeth, Young Bellair in The Man of Mode by George Etherege, Lord Dion in Philaster by Beaumont and Fletcher, and Guyomar in The Indian Emperor by John Dryden.[8]

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