When read in the sequence of their production on the stage, William Wycherley’s four plays make an interesting study of a dramatist gaining mastery of his art. The early plays display a number of structural flaws and basic problems with dramatizing a story. Through what could only be deliberate experimentation, the several elements of drama are shaped, weighed, and positioned in a variety of ways until a near-perfect formula is achieved in The Country Wife.
Love in a Wood
The highest plot line of Love in a Wood, Wycherley’s first play, concerns the adventures and trials of Valentine and Christina, idealized lovers who would seem more at home in a romance than a Restoration comedy of manners. Valentine, who had fled England for France after wounding a man in a duel, has secretly returned and is staying with his friend, Vincent. Ranger, another friend of Vincent, met Christina by chance while investigating the activities of his own mistress, Lydia. Through no fault of her own, Christina has now become the object of Ranger’s desire, and this he has hastened to tell Vincent. Valentine concludes that Christina has been untrue, and five acts of the expected misunderstandings and confusions are needed to convince him that his jealousy is unfounded and to unite the pair in matrimony. A second level of the play concerns the adventures of Vincent and Ranger that do not directly involve Valentine. The fop, Dapperwit, also...
(The entire section is 4164 words.)
Show us the love and view this for free! Use the facebook like button, or any other share button on this page, and get this content free!free!
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of William Wycherley Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!