George Etherege helped to develop the comedy of manners, or society comedy, in which the brilliant world of wits and fops is both portrayed and satirized. In his best-known comedy, The Man of Mode (1676), Dorimant, the central character, is hardly a model for how the young man about town should behave. Etherege is a cool observer of manners. Sir Fopling Flutter is clearly a Frenchified fop and dandy, yet he is also lovable. Harriet is a prototype of the witty, liberated woman-coquettish, teasing, and intelligent. Etherege's other comedies are The Comical Revenge, or Love in a Tub (1664) and She Would If She Could (1668).
Vanbrugh was an architect as well as a playwright, and his massive style of building provoked the following mock-epitaph: "Lie heavy on him, Earth! for he/ Laid many heavy loads on thee!" Vanbrugh is best known for two comedies. In The Relapse (1696), which is a sequel to the sentimental play of Colley Cibber, Love's Last Shift, Vanbrugh questions the essential goodness of human beings, especially when presented in the form of an inveterate rake. The foppish Lord Foppington in this play is a memorable character. In The Provoked Wife (1697), Vanbrugh has fun with the serious issue of marital incompatibility. Sir John Brute, played with great success by David Garrick, is a caricature of a drunken, dim-witted, loutish aristocrat. Brute's attitudinizing is admirably rendered on stage.