William Congreve, The Way of the World, Acts I and II Passages for Performance (8th ed. pages / 9th ed. pages)  Click here for paper-development comments for most passges.

        In each passage, be alert for what the characters are revealing to and concealing from each other.  Some revelations are intentional deceptions, and some concealments are noticed and thereby reveal what they sought to conceal.

Act I

1)  Fainall and Mirabell gambling in a card game in a chocolate house (2229 / 2362).  The "rakes" and the values of "the world" (London's elite).  From "You are fortunate . . . " to "You have a taste . . . "

2) Witwoud, Mirabell, Fainall, Betty, Petulant, still at the chocolate house (2232-37 / 2364-70) "Wit" and fashionable reputation.  From "Joy of your success" to "Well, harkee"

Act II

3)  Mrs Marwood and Mrs. Fainall--Fainall's mistress talking to Fainall's wife, a married woman with a dangerous past connection to Mirabell, each testing the other's loyalties (2339-40 / 2372-73)  From "Aye, aye, dear Marwood" to "My husband.  Don't you see him?"

4)  Fainall and Mrs. Marwood, then Mrs. Fainall and Mirabell--the two plots, Fainall's and Mirabell's to capture and marry Millamant, the young widowed heiress and ward of Lady Wishfort, and the two rakes and their female allies/antagonists who hope to carry off the schemes (2242-44 / 2375-77) From "Your fame I have preserved." to "Upon condition that she consent to my marriage"

5)  Mirabell, Millamant, and Witwoud--a pre-courtship, about love, lovers, and "cruelty" (2245-6 / 2379) From ""Mirabell, did not you take exceptions last night?" to "O, fiction, Fainall, let us leave these men."