The Country Wife by William Wycherley

970 WordsJul 9, 20184 Pages
A Virtuous Woman In William Wycherley’s The Country Wife, William Wycherley enlightens the audience to capture several different ironical statements and questionable behaviors. The play fits perfectly into Greenwald’s definition of a comedy of manners: “[Critics] assert that a comedy of manners and the people who inhabit it represent the ostentatiously idle upper-class” (“Social Heirarchy” web). Wycherley also distinguishes several oddities in his characters not typically used to describe the upper-class. For example, Mr. Pinchwife, a wealthy newlywed husband, is so afraid that he is going to become a cuckold, that he does not allow his wife to leave the house (Wycherley act two). One of Wycherley’s goals in writing The Country Wife…show more content…
When Mr. Pinchwife has his back turned to his wife, Mrs. Pinchwife leaves with Mr. Horner and returns with oranges and dried fruit. Mr. Pinchwife does not trust his wife to be alone with another man for a few minutes. Wycherley cleverly depicts the fruit as symbols of Mr. and Mrs. Pinchwife’s marriage. Mrs. Pinchwife represents the oranges, full of life and juice. Mr. Pinchwife represents the dried fruit, unappealing and ill-willed (McNamara web). Mr. Horner and Mr. Pinchwife are not the only characters whose lack of morals has an influence on Mrs. Pinchwife in The Country Wife. In addition, “The Virtuous Gang” (Wycherley act five) is a continuation of the corruption and immorality in London. Ironic to the gang’s name, Lady Fidget, Mrs. Fidget, and Mrs. Squeamish are anything but virtuous. In public, the three women put on an ideal act, showing others that they are perfect women. The women appear to have no problems and have high standards for themselves. They all are respectable members in society. When they are alone with Mr. Horner, however, they continually seduce him (Jarnold web). Wycherley uses these characters to show how society can influence Mrs. Pinchwife to label people as materials. In the fine china scene, Wycherley “implies [the] consumption of goods” (“Q & A” web). In some societies, women can be seen as possessions. In The Country Wife, however, the roles are reversed. Lady Fidget sees Mr. Horner as fine china labeling him as a
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