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Critical Summary of Garland Jack Gravitts A Primer of Pleasure Neo-Epicureanism in Farquhars The Beaux Strategem Gravitts thesis in his essay titled A Primer of Pleasure Neo-Epicureanism in Farquhars The Beaux Strategem is that Farquhars central concern of the play is the neo-Epicurean ethic While he acknowledges various other themes like divorce money and nature he feels that the dominant theme consists of a combination of the original principles of Epicurus and the ideas found in the popular revival of Epicuruss beliefs in the later seventeenth century Gravitt gives a brief definition of Epicurean ethics stating that it is the doctrine that pleasure is good and pain is evil 39 He continues by stating that pleasure is chiefly the freedom from bodily pain and mental agitation 39 The basic Epicurean virtues are believed to be temperance courage and justice because each contributes to the heightening of pleasure and the lessening of pain 39 These Epicurean ethics are expressed through the action of the characters primarily Aimwell and Archer Both men are successful although their goals are divergent and each achievees a different level of attainment as measured by the plays norm Aimwell finds his happiness in a satisfying marital relationship Archer in financial security 40 The criticism especially focuses on Act I and the dialogue that is carried on between Aimwell Archer and Bonniface in which the three engage in a conversation concerning sensual pleasures such as eating drinking and fornicating Gravitt then turns his attention to those characters that do not get to experience pleasure He feels that both Squire Sullen and Gipsey are not able to indulge in lifes pleasures in the way that Archer and Aimwell are able to Squire Sullen is limited by his imagination because he has the money and position to do whatever he wants Bonniface sums his character up perfectly Why Sir the mans well enough says little thinks less and does-nothing at all faith But hes
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