Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 82
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power within this group of marriages and needs the women's confidences for his scheme as
much or possibly even moreso than the women need him to keep their false honor a secret.
Hornier's support for Harcourt and Alithea's future marriage makes him a libertine who
modifies the definition of libertinism. As a libertine, Homrner should vehemently oppose marriage
in all circumstances. Instead, Homrner realizes the magnitude of Harcourt's feelings for Alithea
and supports their impending marriage. Hornier wants to see Harcourt and Alithea marry because
their union presumably would be a companionate marriage rather than a wedding based solely on
financial mobility for one or both parties-a significant, plausible reason for the unhappiness of
the wives and husbands in the marriages in which his friends entered. Hornier supports
Harcourt's marriage because, unlike Pinchwife and other married men and presumably the
marriage in which Alithea would have found herself had she married Sparkish, Harcourt's choice
to propose to Alithea is motivated by love and an authentic desire to marry rather than a
necessity-financial or otherwise-to which Harcourt agrees with reluctance.
Conclusion of The Country Wife
In The Country Wife, Wycherley satirizes the libertine and libertinism, as well as the
generic conventions of Restoration comedy. Instead of ending the play with an actual
marriage(s), Wycherley ends with the engagement of Alithea and Harcourt and Homrner
"succeeds, escapes retribution, and goes off triumphant" (Turner 102). Hornier's constant
revision of libertinism lampoons libertinism in that it brings to the surface the problematization
of securing a finite definition of libertinism and demonstrates the subjectivity involved in
attempts at determining such a definition. As mentioned earlier, it is notable that none of the
characters in this play openly admit the falsity of Homer's eunuch disguise, much less hold him
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Smith, Victoria. Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell, dissertation, May 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6051/m1/88/?q=rochester: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .