One of the most popular Restoration comedy of manners escapades, William Congreve’s The Way of the World follows the story of Edward Mirabell and his love Millamant. To ensure the inheritance of Millamant’s dowry, the two need the consent of her disdainful and difficult aunt, Lady Wishfort. However, Lady Wishfort does not approve of their union and instead wants her own nephew, Sir Wilful, to marry Millamont. Within this conflict are the eavesdropping and fickle Mrs. Marwood - a former lover of Mirabell - who is having an affair with Fainall (the husband of her friend), Foible and Waitwell’s secret wedding, and the mysterious Sir Rowland, a suitor to Mrs. Wishfort. How will Mirabell and Millamant get consent (and the money) for their marriage? Will Fainall’s affairs be revealed? Who is Sir Rowland? The Way of the World is a true satiric examination of the affectations and manners of an upper-class society, with a witty bite that continues centuries later.
The Way of the World guide sections