'The Runaway' Summary
The Runaway is a comedy of manners by Hannah Cowley, first performed in 1776. The play tells the story of a young woman named Harriet who runs away from home to escape an arranged marriage. She finds herself in the company of a group of eccentric characters, including a dashing young man, a wealthy merchant, and a wise old woman. Together, they help Harriet to find her way in the world and to learn about herself.
The play is set in the late 18th century, and it reflects the social and cultural values of that time. Cowley was a strong advocate for women's rights, and her play explores the challenges that women faced in a patriarchal society. The Runaway is a witty and insightful comedy that offers a thought-provoking look at marriage, gender roles, and the pursuit of happiness.
The play begins with Harriet, a young woman of independent spirit, being forced by her father to marry a man she does not love. Harriet is determined to escape this fate, and she runs away from home. She finds herself in the company of a group of eccentric characters, including a dashing young man named Captain Mirvan, a wealthy merchant named Mr. Stanley, and a wise old woman named Mrs. Candour.
Harriet is initially hesitant to trust these strangers, but she soon learns that they are all kind and supportive. Captain Mirvan falls in love with Harriet, and he helps her to escape from her pursuers. Mr. Stanley offers Harriet a home and a job, and Mrs. Candour provides her with wise counsel.
With the help of her new friends, Harriet eventually finds her way back to her father. He is initially angry with her for running away, but he eventually comes to realize that she is a strong and independent woman. He gives his blessing to her marriage to Captain Mirvan, and the play ends with a happy ending for all.
The Runaway is a well-written and entertaining play that offers a thought-provoking look at marriage, gender roles, and the pursuit of happiness. It is a classic of English literature that continues to be enjoyed by readers today.
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