Lady Flippant, a widow in search of a husband. Although temporarily enamored of Mr. Dapperwit, to whom she makes advances, she has her eye on Sir Simon Addleplot, whom she intends all along to marry and finally does.
Alderman Gripe, an elderly usurer, Lady Flippant’s brother. Enamored of Lucy, he is brought to her by Mrs. Joyner. He frightens the girl with his hasty attentions and is forced to pay five hundred pounds in hush money to her mother, Mrs. Crossbite. He later marries Lucy to get even with his son-in-law, Dapperwit.
Mr. Dapperwit, a witless fop. Enamored of Lucy, he is tricked into marrying the six-months-pregnant Mistress Martha.
Mistress Martha, Alderman Gripe’s daughter. Finding herself six months pregnant, she succeeds in marrying Dapperwit.
Lucy, Mrs. Crossbite’s daughter, who is in love with Dapperwit. She marries Alderman Gripe in revenge for Dapperwit’s marriage to his daughter, Mistress Martha.
Sir Simon Addleplot
Sir Simon Addleplot, a fortune hunter. In pursuit of Mistress Martha, he must finally be satisfied with Lady Flippant.
Mrs. Crossbite, a procuress and Lucy’s mother. She blackmails Alderman Gripe and maneuvers him into marrying her daughter.
Mrs. Joyner, a matchmaker and procuress engaged in finding a husband for Mrs. Flippant, in finding a wife for Sir Simon Addleplot, and in procuring Lucy for Alderman Gripe.
Mr. Ranger, a young man-about-town engaged to Lydia.
Mr. Vincent, Mr. Ranger’s friend and confidant.
Lydia, Mr. Ranger’s cousin and his betrothed.
Mr. Valentine, a young gallant betrothed to Christina.
Christina, a young woman in love with Mr. Valentine.
Holland, Norman. The First Modern Comedies. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1959. Chapter on Love in a Wood focuses on Wycherley’s structuring of the novel’s intrigues and analyzes the play as a combination of high plot and low plot.
McCarthy, B. Eugene. William Wycherley: A Biography. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1979. A general biography. Discusses Love in a Wood in some detail as the product of a dramatist who lived and worked in a very specific social climate. Gives some attention to influences on Wycherley’s writing of the play.
Rogers, Katharine M. William Wycherley. New York: Twayne, 1972. Provides production history as well as a discussion of Wycherley’s borrowings from Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s Mornings in April and May (c. 1637). Points out that although Love in a Wood is Wycherley’s first play, it shows distinct elements of the moral awareness that would distinguish the playwright from his contemporaries.
Thompson, James. Language in Wycherley’s Plays. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1984. Uses language theory as well as Restoration philosophies of language to discuss Love in a Wood as a good-humored comedy that employs a wide range of linguistic styles for a broadly comic rather than satiric effect.
Zimbardo, Rose A. Wycherley’s Drama. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1965. Introduces the idea of Wycherley’s plays as English forms of classical satire. Discusses Love in a Wood as a pastoral tale transferred from the mythical forests of Arcadia to London’s St. James’s Park. Suggests that Wycherley’s satiric effects add spice to what is basically a Renaissance play.