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John Bull Or, The Englishman's Fireside: A Comedy, in Five Acts   By: (1762-1836)

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John Bull Or, The Englishman's Fireside: A Comedy, in Five Acts by George Colman is a hilarious and entertaining play that offers a satirical take on various aspects of English society during the late 18th century. With its witty dialogue, well-developed characters, and clever plot twists, the play effectively captures the essence of British cultural norms and values of the time.

Set in the vibrant backdrop of London, the story revolves around the character of John Bull, a quintessential Englishman who embodies the characteristics of an honest, simple, and patriotic individual. Through the portrayal of John Bull, Colman provides a comedic lens through which to examine the political and social landscape of England. The play dives into themes such as nationalism, corruption, greed, and the clash of class distinctions, making it a thought-provoking piece of literature.

One of the most notable aspects of this play is the exceptional characterization. Each character is distinct and well-defined, with their idiosyncrasies adding depth and authenticity to the story. John Bull's unwavering loyalty to his country, his stubbornness, and his good-hearted nature make him an endearing protagonist. The supporting characters, such as the scheming lawyers, the conniving politicians, and the witty servants, add both humor and intrigue to the narrative.

Colman's clever use of language and wit is evident throughout the play. The dialogue is sharp, quick, and filled with double entendre, offering numerous opportunities for comedic timing and wordplay. The banter between characters is lively and engaging, keeping the audience entertained while also highlighting the underlying themes of the play.

Furthermore, the plot unfolds with a perfect balance of comedic elements and dramatic tension. The numerous plot twists and turns keep the audience on the edge of their seats, eagerly awaiting the next revelation. Colman skillfully weaves together the various storylines, seamlessly blending humor and social commentary to create a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

While written in the late 18th century, the themes explored in this play remain relevant even today. The examination of political corruption, national pride, and societal divisions transcends time, making the play relatable to contemporary audiences. It serves as a reminder of the enduring nature of human follies and the importance of maintaining a critical eye towards those in power.

In conclusion, John Bull Or, The Englishman's Fireside: A Comedy, in Five Acts by George Colman is an exceptional piece of literature. With its wit, humor, and insightful social critique, it continues to captivate audiences centuries after its initial publication. This play is a must-read for anyone interested in English literature, comedy, and the exploration of societal norms and values.

First Page:



The Englishman's Fireside: A Comedy, in Five Acts;



As Performed at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden.

Printed Under the Authority of the Managers from the Prompt Book.

With Remarks by Mrs. Inchbald.

[Illustration: JOHN BULL




London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, Paternoster Row.

William Savage, Printer, London.


"Yet be not blindly guided by the throng; "The multitude is always in the wrong."

Roscommon surely meets with a bold contradiction in this comedy for it was not only admired by the multitude, but the discerning few approved of that admiration.

The irresistible broad humour, which is the predominant quality of this drama, is so exquisitely interspersed with touches of nature more refined, with occasional flashes of wit, and with events so interesting, that, if the production is not of that perfect kind which the most rigid critic demands, he must still acknowledge it as a bond, given under the author's own hand, that he can, if he pleases, produce, in all its various branches, a complete comedy... Continue reading book >>

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