The essay “Beau Tibbs” is the most significant collection of essays by Oliver Goldsmith. It is a collection of essays that deal with the character of peculiar persons. It teaches us, peculiar people. It teaches us so many practical lessons for a graceful life.
Goldsmith wants to stress the teaching,
“The company of fools may,
at first, make us smile
but at last, never fails
of rendering us melancholy.”
He also throws light the contemporary English Society. Beau Tibs represents the contemporary English Middle class. The meaning of Beau Tibbs is a showy man.
About Oliver Goldsmith
Oliver Goldsmith was an essayist of The Age of Transition. He wrote both poetry and essays. He contributed to the periodical essays. His essays have extraordinary power, boldness, originality of thoughts, humour, and tenderness. His style is clear and delicate which made him a great essayist. He was one of the most important writers of the Augustan age, otherwise known as the neoclassical age or the age of Reason.
He is noted for his novel, “The Vicar of Wakefield”, his pastoral poem “The Desert Village and his Plays”, “The Good-Natured Man” and “She Stoops to Conquer”, his classic Children’s tale “The History of Little Goody Two Shoes.”
Analysis of The Essay Beau Tibbs
The essay “Beau Tibbs” has portrayed the character of Mr. Tibbs. The essayist calls him a Beau. This word indicates the inherent character of Mr. Tibbs that he was an elderly man who always remained particular to his dress and also pays unnecessary attention to women. So the word Beau has been used sarcastically to show the levity of his character.
Mr. Tibbs was a very poor man but he always tried to conceal it from others, though unsuccessfully. This habit of Mr. Tibbs had made him an eccentric and he had developed a very ridiculous nature. Whenever he meets someone, he boasts of his high Contacts. He was equally peculiar in his dress. When the essayist met him, he noticed that
“His looks were pale, thin, and sharp;
Round his neck, he wore a broad black ribbon
and in his bosom a buckle studded with glass….
and his stockings of silk, through newly washed,
were grown yellow by long service.”
He was habitual of dressing himself peculiarly and variously, sometimes in torn and at other times in beautiful dress.
Mr. Tibbs invites the narrator to his house. Tibbs wants to introduce his wife and daughter to the narrator. He informs that his daughter knows the famous country dance and can play the guitar well. He says that he is designing her for his friend’s son. Mr. Tibbs also informs him about his wife. During his talk, he repeatedly asks the narrator to keep all this information secret. He takes the narrator to his house, not through a straight road, but through many dark and winding ways.
His boastful nature was the greatest weakness of his character. He always tries to impress others that he had very close contacts and familiarity with the Lords and Ladies of high status and often dined with them in the cities and towns privately. He was too proud to admit his poverty and boasted of being on close terms with the aristocracy. He foolishly thought that the people believed whatever he told them about him.
Goldsmith has revealed his character in an extremely humorous but sarcastic manner. When he started talking with Charles, Tibbs told the Lord had granted him the favor of offering five hundred a year and ‘His lordship took me down in his own Chariot yesterday and we had a tete-a tete dinner in the country where we talked of nothing else.
Then at once, as if suddenly reminded, he tells that he had actually dined in town. He was among the select party to dine at Lady Grograms. But after talking so long about his foolish stories, he suddenly comes to his real self. He asked Charles to give him Half-a-Crown(two shillings). Tibbs does this with everybody he meets and thus earns his acquaintances, he tells. He never repaid the borrowed from his friend and they knew the fact very well.
Though this character of Goldsmith has imparted a piece of very useful advice to the young people who depended on the mercy of others but always thought themselves very clever, he advised that such hypocrisy is always damaging and we should save ourselves from such evil.
Thus, Oliver Goldsmith can be said the representative writer of his age. His writings carry almost all the characteristics of the period he belonged to. The essay Beau Tibbs shows the vanity of the middle class of that age through the characters, Beau Tibbs.
Now we can say that through the essay “Beau Tibbs” Oliver Goldsmith satirized the English society.
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