the protagonists and considers Margery pinchwife to be the heroine of Wycherley's play. Sir Wilfull, Ben, and Margery all possess the exuberant vitality and freedom from hypocrisy Birdsall sees as the essence of comedy. Both Schneider and Hoffman give attention to Valentine as blessed madman.
Country squires and bumpkins have not received as much attention as the rake heroes and the fops and deserve more, since a much-debated question from the end of the seventeenth century has been the degree to which these plays contain moral values and how they are presented. Cibber's observations about Nokes give us ample testimony that squires delighted the audience, but in speaking unpalatable truths, they instructed as well.
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