Jealousy By Wycherley 's The Country Wife Essay

1300 Words Nov 19th, 2016 6 Pages
In Wycherley’s The Country Wife, jealousy is a major theme; it is defined and portrayed differently through each character. However, jealousy has a common sinister outcome. In this paper, I will argue that jealousy, in Wycherley’s The Country Wife, is the agent that drives archetypal characters such as Pinchwife, Horner, Sparkish and Harcourt, to act in a gendered stereotypical manner which emphasizes the sinister aspects of this restoration comedy.
Pinchwife is portrayed as a typical jealous husband; he acts in ways that restrict his wife, Margaret Pinchwife, from leaving him or being cuckolded. Wycherley makes it clear that Pinchwife had chosen Margaret as his wife because she is from the country. He manipulates Margaret through her ignorance in order to ensure her submissiveness and fidelity. Pinchwife states, “he’s a fool that marries, but he’s a greater that does not marry a fool. What is wit in a wife good for, but to make a man a cuckold? (p. 181)” This suggests that Pinchwife does not believe in marriage as he refers to someone who marries as a “fool.” When he insinuates someone to be a “fool,” it has a negative connotation for someone being stupid, and ignorant. However, he thinks that if one does get married, they should get married for a purpose. As he himself chose to get married to someone he thought to be a fool, this suggests that his reason for marriage was to restrain someone for himself, for his own sexual pleasure. For Pinchwife, his jealousy is defined…

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