What Are the Theme and Symbolism in Sheridan's "The Rivals?"

Some of the prominent themes of "The Rivals" have to do with artifice, love, courtship and foolishness. In particular, Sheridan touches on the themes that artifice is ineffective, that true love and courtship often conflict, and that all characters act foolish in spite of their intelligence. In addition, many of the characters serve as symbols of social groups.

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