Analyze The Country Wife as a satire meant to reflect the society and period in which it was written.

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A satire uses comedy and exaggeration to highlight moral weaknesses in characters and society. Written in 1675, The Country Wife , reflects the new sexual daring and exuberant excess of the Restoration, the period beginning in 1660 when the monarchy was restored to power in England. This followed a period...

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A satire uses comedy and exaggeration to highlight moral weaknesses in characters and society. Written in 1675, The Country Wife, reflects the new sexual daring and exuberant excess of the Restoration, the period beginning in 1660 when the monarchy was restored to power in England. This followed a period of civil war and Puritan rule under Oliver Cromwell. The Puritans banned the theater as a morally corrupting influence, part of their imposition of strict and sober moral values on society. Having been repressed for a decade, people went wild once the Puritans were out of power.

The Country Wife represents the renewed spirit of freedom to explore sexual themes about adultery and lust in a play. The play is both irreverent in its focus on sex, especially the plot thread in which Horner has the rumor put out that he is impotent so that he can safely seduce married women, and a satire poking fun at the new spirit of sexual excess in London.

Many of the themes of The Country Wife, such as the sexual hypocrisy of the period, the social pretensions of city people, and the greed of the marriage market, became staples of eighteenth-century theater. Outrageous comic situations, exaggerated characters, and names which communicated characters' exaggerated features—such as Quack and Pinchwife in this play—also became part of eighteenth-century theater. However, The Country Wife was not alone in using these tropes in the late seventeenth century: they were widespread in this rollicking and daring period.

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