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Engl3700: Restoration and 18th-Century literature, February 28.docx

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ENGL 3700
Heather Ladd

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February 28, 2014 – English Discussion questions: • Does the Country Wife have a moral lesson? o Cynical about polished society, characters are incorporated back into society, Margery sees her abusive marriage as a cage and she see is as a punishment, Margery doesn’t get anything at the end of the play, Tells lies because of pressures by Horner, virtuous gang, maid lucy, o Dryden didn’t think that we had to punish those who have a vice and reward those who overcame. o Another morality: punishment of the husbands who neglect their wives. Improper marriages, violent marriages… o Horner seen as a tool to expose vices. • What is the play’s ultimate stance/message about marriage? o Marriage based on woman as a propriety : doomed to fail. Pinchwife took advantage of Margery’s innocence. Promote a companion in marriage (intellectual equals) o Men dominating over their wives sow their own destruction. Critique of domestic violence and the caging of Margery. o There is hope with Alethea and Hardcourt, most conventional marriage, Alethea is apart of the virtuous gang at the end suppressing Margery’s voice of truth: She is protecting Margery from herself and what her truth would do (pinchwife threatens to kill Margery), protecting her family’s honor because she is Pinchwife’s sister. • Why does Margery call Pinchwife ‘bud’? o Immaturity, naïve, doesn’t use language correctly, pet names, he’s a disgusting old man, deceiving him, trying to quell his jealousy with the affectionate language • How do the 3 ladies react to learning they all have Mr. Homer as a lover? Will the relationship continue? o Selfish possessiveness (sexual spent), self-preservation (don’t want to ruin their own reputation by revealing the identities), resign themselves to sharing him. Secondary reading: Excerpt – back
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