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2020

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Modern Theatre in Context: A Critical Timeline

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Robertson's melodrama Caste is hailed by some as an epoch-making play not only because of its realistic sets and language but also because of its emphasis on the unfairness of the English caste system. Two middle-class sisters marry, one to a haughty aristocrat and the other to a submissive laborer. In ironic parallel asides at the finale, the former comments that her sister "will live in a back room behind a shop. Well-I hope she will be happy"; the latter, "she will live in a fine house, and have a carriage, and be a lady. Well-I hope she will be happy." Reviewing a revival in the June 1897 Saturday Review, Bernard Shaw will comment: "A very little epoch and a very little play, certainly."