Four Restoration Marriage Plays
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Marriage and its discontents lie at the heart of Restoration comedy. In all four of the great plays gathered here, a married woman confronts her would-be seducer. Each dramatist, however, totally reinterprets the situation. Thomas Otways The Soldiers Fortune converts adultery into political revenge. Nathaniel Lees The Princess of Cleves offers a potent and perplexing portrait of a libertine in action at the sixteenth-century French court. John Drydens Amphitryon, set in ancient Thebes, retells the story in which Jupiter lures the virtuous Alcmena into cuckolding her husband by a stratagem that throws into doubt the very nature of human identity. Thomas Southernes The Wives Excuse reinvents, for the new circumstances of the 1690s, the familiar Restoration plot of a wife spurred towards infidelity by her partners failings. All of the plays have been newly edited and are presented with modernized spelling and punctuation.
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