The Country Wife Characters
Harry HornerA notorious London rake who, in order to gain sexual access to “respectable” women, spreads the rumor that venereal disease has rendered him impotent. In the course of the play he manages liaisons with several of the female characters. Horner is the most insightful of all the “wits” in the play, often drawing out and commenting on the moral failings of others, but in his sexual conduct he is the most depraved.
Jack PinchwifeA middle-aged London man, newly married to the rustic Margery. A rake before his marriage, he is now the archetypal jealous husband: he lives in fear of being cuckolded, not because he loves his wife but because he believes that he owns her. He is a latent tyrant, potentially violent.
Margery PinchwifeThe attractive young “country wife” of the title, Margery is newly married to Jack Pinchwife and is visiting London for the first time to see Alethea’s wedding. Unaccustomed to city ways, she is largely guileless and not overwhelmingly bright but perhaps not so incapable of intrigue as she first appears. Her unrefined sexual vitality and all-around naturalness contrast with the hyper-civilized corruption of the Londoners around her.
Alethea PinchwifeThe younger sister of Jack Pinchwife, who wants to marry her off for financial reasons. She is engaged to Sparkish, whom she values because he appears incapable of jealousy; in the course of the play, however, she attracts the amorous attentions of Harcourt, whom she begins to value for his intelligence and gallantry. Alethea is the most straightforwardly admirable person in the play: her residence in London and enjoyment of the pleasures of the town have sharpened her wits but not dulled her morals.
Frank HarcourtA rakish friend of Horner, Harcourt meets Alethea early in the play, flirts with her in front of Sparkish, and soon falls in love with her. His devotion to the meritorious Alethea bespeaks his basic good nature, and in the course of the play he is converted to a vision of marriage based on mutual love and esteem.
Mr. DorilantA rakish friend of Horner and Harcourt.
Mr. SparkishA shallow and foolish playboy who considers himself, wrongly, a “wit.” He is engaged to Alethea, attracted primarily by her money. He appears to Alethea incapable of jealousy, but this is true only insofar as the envy of other men increases the “value” of his prospective wife, whom he thinks he owns.
LucyAlethea’s clever and sensible maidservant. She is skeptical of her mistress’s plans to marry the vapid Sparkish, and she is resourceful in coming up with schemes to encourage a match with Harcourt.
Sir Jasper FidgetA man of business who derives no end of amusement from the rumor of Horner’s impotence. He is happy to entrust his wife, Lady Fidget, to Horner’s company, on the theory that the presence of the supposed eunuch will keep her occupied and discourage the advances of other, more potent men.
Lady FidgetThe wife of Sir Jasper Fidget, she is much younger than her husband and a leading figure in “the virtuous gang.” Utterly hypocritical, she piques herself on her virtue in public and avails herself of Horner’s physical charms in private. Late in the play she articulates a defense of the hypocrisy of high-born ladies.
Dainty FidgetThe unmarried sister of Sir Jasper Fidget. Like Lady Fidget, she is a member of “the virtuous gang” and secretly a conquest of Horner’s.
Mistress SqueamishA young unmarried woman related to the Fidgets. Like Lady Fidget, she is a member of “the virtuous gang” and secretly a conquest of Horner’s.
Old Lady SqueamishThe grandmother of Mistress Squeamish; she strives in vain to preserve her granddaughter’s purity.
The QuackThe doctor whom Horner enlists to spread the rumor of his impotence.
The BoyHorner’s servant.
The Country Wife Essays and Related Content
- The Country Wife: Major Themes
- The Country Wife: Essays
- The Country Wife: Questions
- The Country Wife: Purchase the Novel and Related Material
- William Wycherly: Biography
- The Country Wife Summary
- About The Country Wife
- Character List
- Glossary of Terms
- Major Themes
- Quotes and Analysis
- Summary and Analysis of Act I.
- Summary and Analysis of Act II.
- Summary and Analysis of Act III.
- Summary and Analysis of Act IV, Scenes 1-2.
- Summary and Analysis of Act IV, Scenes 3-4.
- Summary and Analysis of Act V, Scenes 1-3.
- Summary and Analysis of Act V, Scene 4 and Epilogue.
- Restoration Patent Theaters.
- Related Links on The Country Wife
- Suggested Essay Questions
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 1
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 2
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 3
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 4
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