As well, marriage is merely a business transaction where Pinchwife gives Sparkish "five thousand pound to lye with [his] Sister" (268).
She does not love Sparkish; rather, she will not break her word to him.
Alithea, through her faithfulness to her word and her inability to read the signs of this world properly, has set herself up to be cuckolded (or, more precisely for a woman, "cuckqueaned") by Sparkish's facade of faith.
Jo Stone-Fewings is a delight as the beaming and supremely gullible fob Sparkish
. Patricia Hodge redefines archness as Lady Fidget and, as the long-suffering, ancient servant with the play's most dully dutiful lines, Timothy Bateson is shamelessly watchable.
Rather than learn from her mistakes with Sparkish
and Wildly and take opportunities to reconcile with her parents or regain her reputation, she supports a lavish lifestyle in London as a courtesan and eventually lands in debtors' prison.
The Case of Berecillia cannot thus be pleaded: she married my Lord Sparkish
purely thro Inclination; he makes her a perfect complaisant Husband, and loves her as well as it is the fashion for Men to love their Wives; yet she carries on an Intrigue here with Basset the Gamester, in a manner so publick, that if my Lord had not an unvanquishable Aversion for a naked Sword, he would have tried the Metal of the other's Blade: but being a Lover of Peace, he counterfeits a Blindness to their Behaviour, and is the only one who seems ignorant of his own Shame.
Pinchwife, an overly jealous husband, brings his simple country wife, Margery, to London for the marriage of his sister Alithea to the credulous Sparkish
. Despite Pinchwife's efforts, Margery soon becomes familiar with the fashionable ways of the city and ends by cuckolding him with the libertine Horner, who has spread the rumor that he himself is a eunuch to facilitate his access to willing wives.
But see, where Fresca in her boudoir sits, Surrounded by a court of sparkish
wits: Her practised eye directs its conscious darts At the small tyrants of the several Arts.