The country wife plot. The Country Wife (Play) Plot Summary 2019-01-11

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William Wycherley's The Country Wife: Summary & Analysis

the country wife plot

The Country Wife By William Wycherley; Directed by Phoebe Brooks Produced by Off Off Broadway, Classic Play Runs through 9. Frank Harcourt: A rakish friend of Horner, Harcourt meets Alethea early in the play, flirts with her in front of Sparkish, and soon falls in love with her. Harcourt declares that he believes her; he then tries in vain to get Horner to clear the matter up. Meanwhile, Harcourt gets Sparkish to plead for him to Alethea, and in begging for reconciliation he covertly but in terms clear enough to Alethea expresses his love for her. In the first act, Horner instructs his doctor to tell everyone that he is impotent.


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The Country Wife Summary

the country wife plot

He wants her to be stupid, not able to deceive him. She explains that Horner himself has some expertise in china and even possesses a few pieces that she would like to obtain. The Gala West Coast Premiere took place at the Stanley Warner Theatre, Wilshire Blvd. It's farfetched and it's funny, and it was a big hit with audiences of the Restoration period. Pinchwife then agrees to let her stay in the city on the condition that she wear the disguise of a young man. As a genre, Restoration comedy is notable for displaying a recrudescence of bawdiness, the public expression of which had been suppressed under the Puritans, and for taking a satirical, or even cynical, view of marriage and sexuality. Because of his abusive nature, Margery's affair is not a surprise.

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The Country Wife Summary and Analysis (like SparkNotes)

the country wife plot

Pinchwife, accompanied by Alethea, Harcourt, Sparkish, Lucy, and a parson, wants Horner to attest that Alethea has visited his lodging. He takes every precaution to keep his wife from falling into the predatory hands of Horner. With another warning, Pinchwife departs. The old crown - Old women who do nothing but gossip The country daughter - the daughter of the Country father Puritanism Puritanism was a religious reform movement that arose within the Church of England in the late sixteenth century. Act 3: Margery and Alethea again discuss the restrictions Pinchwife has imposed on Margery. Puritans were very strict with religion and regarded pleasure or luxury as sinful.

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The Country Girl (1954 film)

the country wife plot

Yup, the prim n' proper reign of the Puritans in England was officially over by the time Wycherley wrote this bad boy. Sir Jasper arrives with Horner, saying that he has business to attend to and that the ladies must accept Horner as their chaperone. Alethea is the most straightforwardly admirable person in the play: her residence in London and enjoyment of the pleasures of the town have sharpened her wits but not dulled her morals. Sparkish himself then approaches, and soon Pinchwife enters with Alethea and the disguised Margery. In the next scene, Pinchwife, in Covent Garden, presents Sparkish with evidence that Alethea has written to Horner and intends to marry him. Pinchwife then gives the substituted love letter which Pinchwife believes is the letter he wanted Margery to write to Horner who feigns surprise at Pinchwife's accusation that he has attempted to seduce Margery. He sleeps with their women, and basically does everything that the rake typically does, except it is almost socially acceptable for Horner to do it because all of the men think that he is sexually inadequate because he perpetuated that rumor.

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The Country Wife Summary and Analysis (like SparkNotes)

the country wife plot

Act 5: After dinner, Pinchwife directs Margery to finish the letter to Horner as she had intended. Act 1 Rising Action: The point of the play in which the initial story gets more complicated and the conflict is more revealed. Robert wife Beulah has recently died due to cancer. A quack is as fit for a Pimp, as a Midwife for a Bawd; they are still but in their way, both helpers of Nature. Soon Alethea enters, and Sparkish says such nasty things to her, including an avowal that her only attraction for him was her money, that Alethea concludes that she was deceived all along about his good nature.


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William Wycherley, The Country Wife (1675)

the country wife plot

She tells him that it doesn't mean that anything has changed. Margery is concealed in a nearby room. Restoration audiences may have laughed at Mr Pinchwife 's ridiculous measures to promote fidelity, his attempts eventually lead to the failure of his marriage. Lucy disapproves of the match, however, and continues to advocate for Harcourt. We hate him because he's such a liar , but we also love him, because it's so much fun watching him do his thing.

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William Wycherley, The Country Wife (1675)

the country wife plot

The focus on deceit in this passage is also something that we'll see over and over in Restoration Comedies of Manners. The ladies have come to see Margery, but Pinchwife invents excuses for why they cannot, and then departs rudely. When the Fidget group has left, The Quack marvels that Horner should actively strive to make ladies despise him. Pinchwife exits, and Sparkish invites Horner to dine with him and Pinchwife. Meanwhile, Harcourt gets Sparkish to plead for him to Alethea, and in begging for reconciliation he covertly but in terms clear enough to Alethea expresses his love for her. By pretending he is a eunch , Horner enjoys the company of many women because husbands willingly leave their wives under his care.

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Theatre Is Easy

the country wife plot

In the next scene, Sir Jasper walks in on Lady Fidget who is beginning to have sex with Horner. In the next scene, Horner, Harcourt, and Dorilant stand bantering in the New Exchange. Pinchwife forces Margery to compose at his dictation a letter to Horner expressing her disgust with him and renouncing any further contact. Pinchwife searches in vain for his wife, who soon returns with her arms full of gifts from Horner. The ladies have come to see Margery, but Pinchwife invents excuses for why they cannot, then departs rudely. Act I, Scene I Basic set up: This is the beginning of Wycherley's The Country Wife , which is about a trickster Horner out to seduce as many married women as he can.

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Theatre Is Easy

the country wife plot

Sir Jasper readily accepts this medical testimony. Shortly after, Frank leaves the party. The husband does not like Robert because he is blind. Alethea Pinchwife: Alithea is the Younger sister of Jack Pinchwife. Margery objects, however, that her love for Horner is genuine.

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The Country Wife Summary

the country wife plot

In the next scene, Horner gives The Quack a positive report on the success of his impotence ruse. Sir Jasper, though a less clearly odious figure than Pinchwife, has his own unpleasant qualities. At the end, the whole scene with Margery learning to lie is also taking in stride because the idea has already been set up when Mr. Althea is the only woman in the whole play who acts with dignity and common sense. She is engaged to Sparkish. Horner 's overall view is that women are good company, but marriage is a troublesome commitment.


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