The Country Wife, By William Congreve 's The Way Of The World

826 Words Jul 27th, 2015 4 Pages
There is a twenty-five year gap between William Wycherley’s comedy “The Country Wife” (1675) and William Congreve’s “The Way of the World” (1700). The subject matter of both comedies is the relation between the sexes, particularly in marriage. However, the former is an unflinching and coarse satire about the unfaithfulness of married women and the jealousy of married men, while the latter is a less crude satire that ridicules treating marriage as a means to financial security that benefits the selfish. Both satirize marriage as a deceptive convention, but each comedy depicts the evolution of that deception, as this idea of marriage has advanced from deceit for sexual gratification to deceit to satisfy greediness.
In “Country Wife,” the Pinchwife marriage is a hostile one between an older, distrustful man and a young, innocent woman. Their behavior towards one another and others are the central point of the comedy that enhances its humor, as jealousy and cuckoldry dominates their union. The jealousy of Mr. Pinchwife is immediate, as, in his first appearance in Act I, as, when greeted by Horner, he worries that the licentious gallant Horner knows of his marriage and will make him a cuckold: “Death does he know I’m married too?” (Wycherley 12)
This possessiveness in their marriage is prevalent. In Act IV, scene ii, Pinchwife, who has his wife disguised as a man, escorts her outside. Horner discovers and seduces her while keeping up the guise that she is Pinchwife’s…

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