Originally performed and published in 1675, this five-act play parodies the vices and hypocrisies of Restoration London. The plot centers on the eponymous country wife, Margery, whose suspicious husband, Mr. Pinchwife, keeps her isolated. On a rare outing to the theater, Margery encounters the aptly named Mr. Horner. A notorious rake who feigns impotence to trick his way into the intimate company of married ladies, Horner soon schools Margery in the art of deception and realizes Pinchwife's worst fears. Bursting with racy dialog and bawdy humor, this comic masterpiece offers an enduring blend of cynicism, satire, and farce. The elegance of the play's construction and the glamour of its setting provide a piquant contrast to its earthy celebration of lust and human folly. The Country Wife has been periodically vilified for its immorality but remains ever popular for its lively characters, witty double entendres, and sophisticated drama.
About the author
English dramatist William Wycherley (c.1640–1716) is best known for his plays The Country Wife and The Plain Dealer. His Restoration-era comedies are notable for their keen satires of manners and society, and the playwright was a favorite among the wits in the court of Charles II.
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