In act short five, lady wishfort has discovered the plot, and fainall has had waitwell arrested. Fainall tells foible that all now know of her affair with Mirabell. Lady wishfort appears with Mrs. Marwood, who is in her good graces for exposing the plot. Fainall appears and uses the knowledge of Mrs. Fainalls affair and the contract to blackmail Lady wishfort into transferring her money to him. Lady wishfort offers Mirabell her consent to the wedding if he can save her fortune and honor.
Mirabell and Millamant, both strong-willed and determined, discuss the terms of their marriage and what they expect, showing the depth of their love for each other. Mirabell proposes to millamant, and with Mrs. Fainalls encouragement, she accepts. Mirabell leaves just as Lady wishfort arrives. Lady wishfort tells Millamant she wants her to marry her nephew, sir Willful report Witwoud, who is visiting from the country. Lady wishfort receives a letter telling her of the sir Rowland plot. Sir Rowland steals the letter and accuses Mirabell of trying to sabotage the wedding; Lady wishfort agrees to sign a marriage contract with Sir Rowland that night.
As she leaves, waitwell and foible arrive, and Mirabell conspires with them about his plan to trick lady wishfort. The scene shifts in acts three, four, and five to the home of Lady wishfort. Wishfort is a lonely woman, and foible encourages her to marry sir Rowland, who is supposedly mirabells uncle, so mirabell will lose his inheritance. However, sir Rowland is actually waitwell in disguise. The plan is to trick lady wishfort into a marriage that is illegal due to bigotry laws. She will become a social disgrace for marrying a servant. Mirabell will then offer to help her out of the marriage in exchange for her consent to his marriage. Fainall and foible discuss this plan; Mrs. Marwood overhears them and decides to tell the plan to fainall, who plots to steal his wifes money and run away with Mrs.
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A five-act play, act one begins as as Mirabell and his essay friend, fainall, have just finished playing cards. A footman arrives and tells Mirabell that his servant, waitwell, and Lady wishforts maid, foible, have just been married. Mirabell tells fainall how much he loves Millamant, and fainall encourages him to marry her. However, mirabell learns that if Lady wishfort marries, hell lose a large chunk of Millamants inheritance. The only way to get this money is if he manages to convince lady wishfort to consent to their union. Act two begins. James Park, as fainalls wife, known only as Mrs.
Fainall, and her friend Mrs. Marwood are talking about their hatred of men. Fainall arrives and accuses Mrs. Marwood (with whom he is secretly having an affair) of being in love with Mirabell (which is true). Fainall, who is Mirabells secret lover, tells Mirabell that she hates her husband. She plots with him to trick lady wishfort into giving her blessing to the wedding. Millamant soon arrives, angry about an altercation between Mirabell and her aunt the previous night, and tells Mirabell she disapproves of his plan.
Fainall does not control her own money. Marwood leave in great anger. Sir Wilfull steps aside as Millamant's suitor; Lady wishfort forgives the servants and consents to the match of Mirabell and Millamant. SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters,"s, and essay topics. This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis. The way of the world by william Congreve.
The way of the world by English playwright William Congreve premiered in London in 1700. Considered one of the best Restoration comedies, it is still performed occasionally today but was controversial in its time due to its bawdy themes and sexual explicitness, which had fallen out of favor in its time. Focused on the adventures of a pair of lovers, mirabell and Millamant, the story follows their plan to marry and the many steps they must take to obtain the approval of Millamants bitter aunt, lady wishfort. At the same time, supporting characters, including friends, servants, and others, are engaging in their own schemes and affairs. Like many restoration comedies, the play serves as a satire on the culture of its time. Its themes include criticism of high society and the niceties of courtship, as well as the nature of love and the role of money in marriage. In many ways, The way of the world is about the clash of the old with the new. Despite its sexually explicit themes, it is considered a more nuanced play than many others in the genre.
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Fainall for insists that he wants control of the rest of his wife's money and immediate management of Lady wishfort's fortune. When Mirabell brings two servants to prove that fainall and Mrs. Marwood were themselves guilty of adultery, fainall ignores the accusation and points out that he will still create a scandal which would blacken the name of Mrs. Fainall unless he gets the money. At this point, mirabell triumphantly reveals his most successful ploy. Fainall married fainall, she and Mirabell had suspected the man's character, and she had appointed her lover trustee of her fortune. Fainall is left with no claim to make mba because Mrs.
In the same request afternoon, millamant accepts Mirabell's proposal and rejects Sir Wilfull Witwoud, lady wishfort's candidate for her hand. Fainall now dominates the action. He unmasks Sir Rowland, the false uncle, and blackmails Lady wishfort with the threat of her daughter's disgrace. He demands that the balance of Millamant's fortune, now forfeit, be turned over to his sole control, as well as the unspent balance of Mrs. In addition, he wants assurance that Lady wishfort will not marry so that Mrs. Fainall is certain to be the heir. This move of fainall's is now countered; Millamant says that she will marry sir Wilfull to save her own fortune.
Marwood, fainall's mistress, is in love with Mirabell. In the meantime, although Millamant quite clearly intends to have mirabell, she enjoys teasing him in his state of uncertainty. Mirabell bids fair to succeed until, unfortunately, mrs. Fainall and foible discussing the scheme, as well as Mirabell and Mrs. Fainall's earlier love affair. Marwood also overhears insulting comments about herself, she is vengeful and informs fainall of the plot and the fact, which he suspected before, that his wife was once mirabell's mistress. The two conspirators now have both motive and means for revenge.
There are, however, financial complications. Half of Millamant's fortune was under her own control, but the other half, 6,000 pounds, was controlled by lady wishfort, to be turned over to millamant if advantages she married a suitor approved by her aunt. Unfortunately, mirabell had earlier offended Lady wishfort; she had misinterpreted his flattery as love. Mirabell, therefore, has contrived an elaborate scheme. He has arranged for a pretended uncle (his valet, waitwell) to woo and win Lady wishfort. Then Mirabell intends to reveal the actual status of the successful wooer and obtain her consent to his marriage to millamant by rescuing her from this misalliance. Waitwell was to marry foible, lady wishfort's maid, before the masquerade so that he might not decide to hold Lady wishfort to her contract; Mirabell is too much a man of his time to trust anyone in matters of money or love. Millamant is aware of the plot, probably through foible. When the play opens, mirabell is impatiently waiting to hear that waitwell is married to foible.
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Bookmark this page, before the action of the play begins, the following events are assumed to have taken place. Mirabell, a young man-about-town, apparently not a man of great wealth, has had an affair with Mrs. Fainall, the widowed daughter of Lady wishfort. To protect her from scandal in the event of pregnancy, he has helped engineer her marriage. Fainall, a man whom he feels to be of sufficiently good reputation to constitute a respectable match, but not a man of such virtue that tricking him would be unfair. Fainall, for his part, married the young widow because he coveted her fortune to support his amour with Mrs. In time, the liaison between Mirabell and Mrs. Fainall mom ended (although this is not explicitly stated and Mirabell found himself in love with Millamant, the niece and ward of Lady wish-fort, and the cousin of his former mistress.