The expectations of woman in London and the country are quite different seen from Act 1 when Pinchwife says ‘She’s too awkward, ill-favoured and silly to bring to town’ which shows this contrasting view as his wife is a country wife. The cosmopolitan Mr. Pinchwife married his homely wife so that he could avoid all the infidelity, extravagance, and impertinence associated with the stereotypical city wife. He degrades her to ensure no man will want what is his. Pinchwife’s character is opposite to Horner in their views on women.
Pinchwife shows again that the contemporary view was that women should be devoted to their husbands as he goes to ridiculous lengths to keep his wife faithful, which satirises the paranoia of jealous men. He also contrasts with Horners view of intelligent women by saying ‘What is wit in a wife good for, but to make a man a cuckold? ‘ Here he is indirectly saying that his wife has no wit, and therefore no sophisticated education. This view coincides with the times, where males would search the countryside to find nai?? ve women without diseases and lure them into the towns for business.
Another expectation of women in the country was this idea of having no disease, ‘A least we are a little surer of the breed there, know what her keeping has been, whether foiled or unsound. ‘ Lady Fidget in Act 1 characterises many of the town-dwelling women in the play. She is flirtatious with most of the male characters, especially Horner. She asks ‘How you saucy fellow! Would you wrong my honour? ‘ Horner then replies ‘If I could. ‘ These kinds of open displays of sexuality were common for many women of the time, even in front of their husbands.
Lady Fidget also mentions her honour. Town women of the time were very preoccupied with the concept of honour. Women were happy to be promiscuous and show contempt for their marriages, as long as they could get away with it. While Act 1 does not show us much about differing views, it does shows us some ideas that expectations of women were different. Women from the cities, including London were assumed to be well-educated and also unfaithful to husbands, whereas as countrywomen were expected to be free of disease, faithful and loyal and not very attractive.