The Country Wife Themes by William Wycherly

Hedonism & Immorality 

Most of the characters in the story exhibit the vices associated with immoral conduct and debauchery. Married women like Margery and Lady Fidget harbor affection for men other than their husbands and are willing to lie in order to save their immoral behavior.

Horner, himself, concocts an elaborate ruse to lull innocent women into a trap of sexual promiscuity and an extramarital affair. Everyone seems to be too engrossed in following their lustful desires even at the expense of making a fool of their family and dear ones.


The marital bond is shown to be based on mutual distrust and coercion rather than affection and care. All marriages have an element of lies, deception, and cheating. The Fidgets, Pinchwife and Margery, Alithea and Sparkish (engaged), etc are all guilty of ignoring the responsibilities as a married pair.

In fact, the whole institution of marriage is ridiculed and condemned by the writer who tries to suggest that it is an obsolete practice and that men and women are incapable of monogamous relationships based on mutual trust and concern.


The story is rife with characters that live a life of hypocrisy and deception. Lady Fidget and her companions, Margery and Horner all are living two lives and put up appearances to fool the people around them. 

Lady Fidget and her friends are critical of all the women who sleep with many men but are as much culpable when they get an opportunity to have an affair with Horner

Jealousy & Suspicion 

Pinchwife is extremely concern about his beautiful wife and is jealous of every man who even looks at her. He is suspicious of every onlooker and does not trust his wife to stay loyal to him.

Sparkish is, on the other hand, unaware of his fiancée and Harcourt’s budding romance and remains oblivious until Pinchwife gives him the letter. Sir Fidget is also oblivious to his wife’s affair with Horner and even brings her wife to him personally.