Thursday, October 3, 2019
The Country Wife- Contextual Section Essay Example for Free
The Country Wife- Contextual Section Essay William Wycherley wrote The Country Wife in 1675 during the Restoration Period in England. He was born in 1641 at Clive Hall near Shrewsbury to a wealthy family, and he was educated in France where he spent most of his youth. Once Charles II was restored, he returned to England to study at Oxford, and then became a fine, fashionable gentleman in London, of strong intellectual power. There he was able to observe the attitudes and actions of similarly constituted social groups, whom would later be the basis of his plays. The Country Wife is a Restoration Comedy as it was written during the forty years after the restoration of King Charles II to the English throne. He had a particular passion for the theatre, and its development during this period was largely down to him. The civil war in 1642- the Puritan Revolution- had seen his father Charles I beheaded and Oliver Cromwell become the leader of England. This eighteen-year period- the interregnum- saw the puritans discourage and eventually completely ban drama, due to its connections with the monarchy and its immoral non-puritan values. After King Charles II was restored and therefore theatre, there was a general feeling of happiness and freedom in the country. People were interested in enjoying themselves after the long period of drudgery, thus increasing the popularity of theatre. The plays themselves were much more cheerful compared to the Elizabethan and Jacobean plays that they had proceeded, prompting the introduction of the Comedy of Manners. People wanted to laugh. There were other huge differences to how English Theatre was pre 1642. There were machinery allowing objects to fly and move, and there was moveable scenery permitting plays to be divided into scenes. This aided comedy of manners productions like The Country Wife to create a sense of deceit by allowing characters to hide and make numerous entrances and exits for example. However, the greatest change was that women were allowed on the stage. This was a novelty and plays were then able to use their sex appeal and flirtatiousness to include raunchier storylines, such as Horner and his many conquests in The Country Wife. Actresses spoke the prologue and epilogue, to charm the audience into applause and they established a sexual commerce with them. Many of the actresses entered the profession as orange sellers, and their talent as actresses was questioned due to their frequent liaisons with the aristocracy, including the King and Samuel Pepys. This is where the sexual connotations of oranges in The Country Wife originate.