February 28, 2014 – English
• 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
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
• 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
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