John Vanbrugh
Sir John Vanbrugh was an English architect and dramatist, perhaps best known as the designer of Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace  is a monumental country house situated in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England, residence of the dukes of Marlborough. It is the only non-royal non-episcopal country house in England to hold the title of palace. The palace, one of England's largest houses, was built between...

 and Castle Howard
Castle Howard
Castle Howard is a stately home in North Yorkshire, England, north of York. One of the grandest private residences in Britain, most of it was built between 1699 and 1712 for the 3rd Earl of Carlisle, to a design by Sir John Vanbrugh...

. He wrote two argumentative and outspoken Restoration comedies
Restoration comedy
Restoration comedy refers to English comedies written and performed in the Restoration period from 1660 to 1710. After public stage performances had been banned for 18 years by the Puritan regime, the re-opening of the theatres in 1660 signalled a renaissance of English drama...

, The Relapse
The Relapse
The Relapse, or, Virtue in Danger is a Restoration comedy from 1696 written by John Vanbrugh. The play is a sequel to Colley Cibber's Love's Last Shift, or, Virtue Rewarded....

 (1696) and The Provoked Wife
The Provoked Wife
The Provoked Wife is the second original comedy written by John Vanbrugh. The often-repeated claim that Vanbrugh wrote part of his comedy The Provoked Wife in the Bastille is based on allusions in a couple of much later memoirs, but is regarded with some doubt by modern scholars...

 (1697), which have become enduring stage favourites but originally occasioned much controversy. He was knighted in 1714.

Vanbrugh was in many senses a radical throughout his life. As a young man and a committed Whig
British Whig Party
The Whigs were a party in the Parliament of England, Parliament of Great Britain, and Parliament of the United Kingdom, who contested power with the rival Tories from the 1680s to the 1850s. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute rule...

, he was part of the scheme to overthrow James II
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

, put William III
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

 on the throne and protect English parliamentary democracy, and he was imprisoned by the French as a political prisoner
Political prisoner
According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, a political prisoner is ‘someone who is in prison because they have opposed or criticized the government of their own country’....


No man is worth having is true to his wife, or can be true to his wife, or ever was, or ever will be so.

The Relapse, Act III, sc. ii (1697)

Belinda: Ay, but you know we must return good for evil.Lady Brute: That may be a mistake in the translation.

The Provoked Wife, Act I, sc. i (1698)

When debtors once have borrowed all we have to lend, they are very apt to grow shy of their creditors' company.

The Provoked Wife (1698)

He laughs best who laughs last.

The Country House, Act II, sc. v (1706)

Much of a muchness.

The Provoked Husband. Act I, sc. i (1728)

The want of a thing is perplexing enough, but the possession of it is intolerable.

The Confederacy, Act I, sc ii.

As if a woman of education bought things because she wanted 'em.

The Confederacy, Act II, sc. i.