• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Who are the targets for 'Wycherley's satire' in 'The Country Wife' and how does it reflect Restoration society?

Extracts from this document...


Who are the targets for 'Wycherley's satire' in 'The Country Wife' and how does it reflect Restoration society? The Country Wife is a Restoration comedy, concerned with exposing certain faults and failings in polite society but as R. C. Sharma said 'The Restoration comedy of manners thus reflects not the real life of the upper class fashionable society but the quintessence of its spirit and temper.' The play is also a satire; a play in which prevailing vices or follies are held up for ridicule, with characters within the play being targets for Wycherley's play. One such target is female hypocrisy. Horner's friend, Quack, who has spread the story around town that Horner is an eunuch, finds it difficult to understand how the story will benefit Horner. The latter explains. A man, in his position, has a problem in knowing which women would be interested in an affair and which would not: 'But now I can be sure she that shows aversion to me love the sport.' As he goes on, his plot will provide a screen for those women who are interested, because they are worried only about protecting their 'reputations, not their persons' from the breath of scandal. ...read more.


Thus everything about Pinchwife is negative. He is the perfect target for satirising because as R.C Sharma says 'by his excessive and mean jealousy of his wife, whom he unmodishly treats as 'a freehold' he loses the sympathy of everybody and his humiliation, therefore, is purely comic.' Sparkish is a type of character, the fop, very popular on the Restoration stage from this time on, because he is not only a half-wit, but also a pretender, one who thinks he is the epitome of fashion at the time. When he meets Horner, Dorilant and Harcourt in Act 1, he tries to impress them with references to social engagements, aristocratic acquaintances and skill at clever talk. He makes references to the King and his court at Whitehall, and to the theatre where he goes as a matter of course when there's a new play on. Wycherley, here, is satirising the so-called fops, who were around the inner circle of wits of Charles II's court and because Wycherley himself was a court wit, he was in the midst of the courts. ...read more.


The greedy man will take the initiative himself and this makes him comic, for he digs his own 'comic' grave. The last character which may be a target of Wycherley's satire is Horner. Horner is a Restoration type, a cynic, a wit and a despiser of marriage. But he also is intellectual in his attitude to life even though he is a pleasure seeker. Therefore it is difficult to be sure about Horner, because Wycherley, himself, was a rake like character, and thus would have been satirising himself. To some extent Horner is the Restoration hero, who thinks of little else besides sex and conquest but he appears to have an accompanying motive. In proving that what should repel women actually attracts them, Horner shows in a way that he could not possibly like women, if all he wants to do is show how hypocritical they can be. Therefore, most of the characters, excluding Alithea and Margery Pinchwife, are in some way satirised in the play by Wycherley. These upper-class characters would have been reflected in the audience of the period, as the audience was much more elite than in Shakespeare's day. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Geoffrey Chaucer section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This is a well written response that demonstrates a good understanding of the play, its themes and its characters.
The interpretations made could be more closely linked to the idea of satire as this has been set out as the focus in the title.

4 Stars

Marked by teacher Laura Gater 20/08/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Geoffrey Chaucer essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Feminism or Anti-Feminism: Images of Women in Chaucer's "The Wife of Bath".

    4 star(s)

    hadde swich an haunt/ She passed hem of Ypres and of Gaunt" (General Prologue 449-450). Despite this talent and position as a business owner, Alison still relies on her husbands for wealth and status. While Alison in her own right is an accomplished artisan, she is rarely seen as her own person.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Les Murrays Widower in the country

    3 star(s)

    As the man takes a walk, he looks down on the house and begins to cry, but instead of bluntly telling the readers this, he uses the sun reflecting off the tin roof as an excuse as the "roof reflects the sun and makes my eyes water".

  1. By Henri Robben Character Analysis of the Characters in Novella "The Lion and the ...

    However, Baroka and Sadiku trick Sidi into marrying Baroka and becoming his youngest wife. Even Sidi's crafty tongue and language usage is no match of intelligence that Baroka possesses. Baroka uses Sidi's vanity to manipulate her into thinking that she can have her head on the village's stamp, so that she would be the figurehead.

  2. 'Squeaker's Mate' by Barbara Baynton and 'The Drover's Wife' by Henry Lawson

    I though the drover's wife as not as powerful as the message was not as strong and didn't have a great impact on me emotional for the women.

  1. 'Compare the author's use of images in The Other Wife and The Story of ...

    Additionally, Chopin's use of auditory images such as peddlers 'crying his wares' and people singing down in the streets portrays Louise's feeling of freedom and her awakening of a realization. The writer's utilization of careless sounds gives a sense of life and a sound of liberty.

  2. What impression of the pardoner's appearance and character have you received from the portrait, ...

    The Pardoner wants the congregation to relate to his sermon so he cleverly incorporates everyday experience (and how to improve it with his fake "relics"), such as cookery, "wyn", agriculture and livestock. His knowledge of the Bible is very extensive and impressive, this once more shows his intelligence, and he quotes everything from the content of Genesis to Proverbs.

  1. Focus on “A wife in London” And “Dirge Of The Dead Sisters”

    The only light she is in, is the light from the fire this is very depressing as it symbolizes that she has given up all hope.

  2. Comparison between The Prioress and Wife of Bath

    Both are doing what they may not do and avoiding what they should do. Both respect God and Saints but both do not care for their sayings. They are following their own emotions and their own thoughts. The Prioress is the head of nun, who received lots of respect.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work