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Restoration Comedy and The Country Wife

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by dominique panton on 4 December 2012

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Transcript of Restoration Comedy and The Country Wife

Restoration Comedy Daring exploits of romance and adventure with complicated plots
Aphra Behn
First woman English playwright
sometimes referred to as "The fair triumvirate of wit."
plays followed the trend of being indecent and raunchy
- " it was bawdy, the least and most excusable fault in the men writers, to whose plays they all crowd , as if they came to no other end than to hear what they condemn in this, but from a woman it was unnatural" - Aphra Behn
John Dryden spoke of her as " writing loosely and giving some scandal to the modest of her sex."
Play include: The Forced Marriage (1677), The Rover(1677), The Amorous Prince! ( 1671), The Emperor of the Moon(1687) (baptized 14 December 1640 – 16 April 1689) Focuses on the fashion and faults of the upper class gossip, adultery, and sexual escapades
Poked fun at the social conventions and norms of the time and satirize the preoccupations of the upper class
Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon.
Characters are stock types - their names usually describe their distinctive personality traits - [Doctor Quack, Pinchwife, Horner, Fridget, Squeamish] Comedies of Manners (c. 1640 – 31 December 1715)
was an English dramatist of the Restoration period, best known for the plays "The Country Wife"(1675) and "The Plain Dealer".
He was born at Clive, Shropshire near Shrewsbury, where his family was settled on a moderate estate of about £600 a year.
While in France, Wycherley converted to Roman Catholicism.
Under Barlow's influence, Wycherley returned to the Church of England.
his nickname of "Manly Wycherley" seems to have been earned by his straightforward attitude to life.
his two last comedies — The Country Wife and The Plain Dealer — that sustain Wycherley's reputation. The Country Wife, produced in 1672 or 1673 and published in 1675, is full of wit, ingenuity, high spirits and conventional humor. William Wycherley Restoration Comedy
&
The Country Wife refers to English comedies written and performed in the Restoration period from 1660 to 1710.
In 1660 the Angelican Church was restored as the official Church of England and King Charles II was restored to power after having been exiled to France.
Comedy of manners is used as a synonym of Restoration comedy
After public stage performances had been banned for 18 years by the Puritan regime, the re-opening of the theaters in 1660 signaled a renaissance of English drama.
Restoration comedy is notorious for its sexual explicitness, a quality encouraged by Charles II personally and by his court
The socially diverse audiences included both aristocrats, their servants and hangers-on, and a substantial middle-class segment.
These playgoers were attracted to the comedies by up-to-the-minute topical writing, crowded and bustling plots, the introduction of the first professional actresses, and by the rise of the first celebrity actors.
This period saw the first professional woman playwright, Aphra Behn. The heroes of Restoration Comedy were lively, foolish gentlemen.
The husbands and fathers were dull in personality and the heroines were perfect and lovely in companions who were busy bodies and gossips.
The dramatist of the Restoration renounced to the tradition of satire, as recently embodied by Ben Jonson, and devoted themselves to comedy of manners, which unknowingly accepted the social code of the upper class.
Restoration comedy was strongly influenced by the introduction of the first professional actresses.
woman started to play the rolls of men Comedies of Intrique The single play that does most to support the charge of obscenity leveled then and now at Restoration comedy is probably Wycherley's The Country Wife (1675).
The Country Wife is a bitter comedy about a man who pretends impotence so as to gain free admittance to women that he then seduces
The Country Wife has three interlinked but distinct plots, which each project sharply different moods:
1. Horner's impotence trick provides the main plot and the play's organizing principle.
2. The married life of Pinchwife and Margery is based on Molière's School For Wives.
3. The courtship of Harcourt and Alithea a relatively uplifting love story. The Country Wife (1675)
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