Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

A comedy by Wycherley, probably performed 1676, published 1677.

It is loosely based on Molière's Le Misanthrope; Wycherley's hero Manly is an honest misanthropic sea‐captain (from whom the playwright took the nickname ‘Manly’ Wycherley). Manly, returned from the Dutch wars, has lost faith in all but Olivia, to whom he has confided his money, and his friend Vernish: he finds Olivia married to Vernish, and faithless even to him. Manly is beloved by Fidelia, a young woman who has followed him to sea in man's clothes; she intercedes with Olivia on his behalf, is discovered by Vernish, who attempts to rape her, and is finally wounded in an attempt to defend Manly from Vernish. Manly forswears Olivia and pledges himself to Fidelia. There is a sub‐plot in which the litigious widow Blackacre, who has a passion for legal jargon, trains up her son Jerry in her footsteps, and thereby overreaches herself.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).

Reference entries

William Wycherley (1641—1716) playwright

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.