Essay about The Representation of Marriage in The Country Wife

812 Words 4 Pages
The Representation of Marriage in The Country Wife

     William Wycherly represents marriage in a peculiar way in The Country Wife. The classic marital values of love, trust, and becoming one with your partner in a bond of love are distorted by intense emotion. The appropriately named Mr. Pinchwife is a jealous husband who moves his new wife Margery to the country with hopes keep her from the outside world, namely the city of London, and the inevitable infidelity that lies there in his mind. However, by denying Mrs. Pinchwife her freedom, Mr. Pinchwife alienates her and encourages her resentment of him.
     Early in the play, when Pinchwife describes his new wife to his friends as
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     Mrs. Pinchwife has now begun to realize how controlling Mr. Pinchwife really is. She even refers to herself as a "poor lonely sullen bird in a cage" (III, i, 4). Mrs. Pinchwife has grown very curious to see the city, especially when Pinchwife mentions Horner's admiration of her. Pinchwife angrily scolds his sister, saying, "Do not teach my wife where the men are to be found… I bid you to keep her in ignorance, as I do" (II, i, 56). But, the next day, Pinchwife agrees to take his wife, "masked" as a young boy, into town, with hopes of dispelling her curiosity without real contact with the world. However, she is drawn away from her husband, and meets with the "cuckold-making" Horner, who kisses her and gives her gifts. Mrs. Pinchwife is no longer a young, naïve, innocent country wife, but a woman longing for her freedom. Pinchwife now realizes the threat presented by Horner.
     Desperate to end the relationship between Horner and his wife, Pinchwife forces Mrs. Pinchwife to write Horner a cruel letter, which she cleverly switches with a second, kind letter before it is sent. Mrs. Pinchwife is later caught

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