The Way of the World

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The play "The Way of the World" was written by William Congreve. He explores the relationship between money and marriage in this particular comedy. William employs many personalities to demonstrate how people can use disrespectful and devious tactics to obtain what they desire. The characters in the play express affection for one another, yet this does not take precedence over the importance of money.

The depiction of Mirabell Mrs. Fainall's relationship with Lady Wishfort's widowed daughter, Mrs. Fainall, precedes the comedy's true action. Mirabell arranges a marriage with Mr. Fainall, a nobleman with a good name in society, as soon as their connections begin. Mr. Fainall wanted to have Mrs. Fainall’s wealth, as it could help him to financially support to support his armor with Mrs. Marwood, his current wife. Mirabell, being a poor man, finds himself in love with Millament, another woman with potential fortune (Congreve 24). He wants to get her money, but does not want to ruin their love because of that. However, Millament was the niece and ward of Lady Wishfort, who was controlling half of Millament’s wealth. Therefore, in order to get Millament’s wealth, Mirabell was to get married with Millament, however, she was able to marry the man, who will please her aunt (Congreve 17). However, Lady Wishfort hated Mirabell because he had once flirted with her and she confused it for love. Therefore, Mirabell hatched a scheme that involved his valet Waitwell, who was to seduce Lady Wishfort.

On the contrary, Waitwell was to marry Foible, Lady Wishfort’s house-help. However, in the middle of the ploy, it becomes inevitable that the friendship between Mirabell and Fainall is on the rocks (Congreve 25). Mrs. Marwood, Fainall’s mistress, was in love with Mirabell as well, despite Fainall being tricked to marry Mrs. Fainall. For this reason, Mr. Fainall is not pleased by this scheme and plans to avenge. At that particular time, Millamant rejects Sir Wilfull Witwoud, Wishfort’s candidate for her hand, and accepts Mirabell’s proposal. The implacable Fainall walks up to Lady Wishfort and threatens to blackmail her for her daughter’s bad behavior, so he demands the balance of Millamant and Mrs. Fainall’s fortune and asks Lady Wishfort never to marry again in her entire life so that Mrs. Fainall remains the rightful heir (Congreve 28).

Mr. Fainall’s move, however, is unsuccessful as Millamant changes her mind to marry Sir Wilfull to protect her wealth. At this point, Mirabell’s trick successfully surfaces and smears Mr. Fainall’s character. Before Mr. and Mrs. Fainall got married, she and Mirabell had questioned the integrity of her current husband, Mr. Fainall. Therefore, Mrs. Fainall appointed her lover as a trustee of her fortune, which indicates that she is no longer in control of the resource (Congreve 77). For this reason, her husband has no claim to make, and he leaves te place. Wilful steps aside as Millamant’s suitor and Lady Wishfort approves the marriage between Mirabell and Millamant.

From to the summary, the author made his point effectively. Throughout the play, it may seem that the author believe is clearly portraying the importance of money in marriages. In most instances, individuals go greater miles for their personal benefit. The play effectively brings out the theme of marriage and money during that particular period because, social status, wealth, and power, were the three entities that defined matrimony. Marrying just for love was rare. Since Mirabel actually loved Millament, he could have married her without Lady Wishfort’s approval, but if this occurred, Millament would stand to lose half her fortune. Consequently, money is also Mirabell’s desire and his entire plan was to get Wishfort’s approval for them to marry, so that Millament legitimately gets her wealth, which would solely be under Mirabell’s control.

Works Cited

Congreve, William. The way of the world. A&C Black, 2014. Retrieved from:, 16th March, 2017.

May 10, 2023
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Play Novel Personality

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