Analyze the types of satire found in The Country Wife.

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The types of satire found in The Country Wife are all forms of Horatian satire, which is to say comic social commentary. Wycherley satirizes licentious Restoration society, Puritan values, and matrimonial jealousy. However, the satire of his first target is fairly mild, because he shows no serious disapproval of the...

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The types of satire found in The Country Wife are all forms of Horatian satire, which is to say comic social commentary. Wycherley satirizes licentious Restoration society, Puritan values, and matrimonial jealousy. However, the satire of his first target is fairly mild, because he shows no serious disapproval of the society he depicts.

Horner is not the romantic hero of the play (that role goes to Harcourt), but he is the most vivacious and memorable. Wycherley treats his seduction of other men's wives as a joke, and his duplicitous, libertine character is never reformed. The most ostentatiously immoral character in the play is therefore one of the least absurd. The same cannot be said of Lady Fidget and her associates, since the playwright takes feminine virtue more seriously than male probity (though still not very seriously).

Margery, the country wife herself, is not the object of much satire. It is the puritanical attempts of husbands to guard the virtue of their wives that come in for the most satirical treatment. Pinchwife is the most ridiculous figure in the play, and his jealousy is the principal object of Wycherley's disdain.

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