William Congreve, The Way of the World, Acts III, IV, and V Passages for Performance (8th ed. pages / 9th ed. pages)  Click here for paper-developement comments.

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


1)  "Wishfort self-fashioning" Part I--2248-9 / 2382-3: Lady Wishfort and Peg, from Lady Wishfort "Merciful, no news of Foible yet?" to Lady Wishfort, "O Marwood, let her come in..."  How can you tell the character of a person by the way they treat employees/servants?  (See also Prior's "Epitaph.")

2)  City vs. Country; from law school to fop school--2253-8 / 2387-92: Mrs. Marwood, Millimant, Petulant, Witwoud, Sir Willful Witwoud, Footman, from Millimant "Sure never anything was so unbred" to Sir Willful "'Sheart and better than to be bound to a maker of fops. . ."

3)  Fainall's "rules of engagement" in the "game of love"--2259-61 / 2394-95: Fainall and Mrs. Marwood, from Fainall "Why then Foible's a bawd . . ." to Fainall "All husbands must. . ." (couplet).

Act IV

4)  "Wishfort self-fashioning," Part II (Herrick's "Delight and Disorder" and Jonson's "Still to Be Neat" as courtship rules [please click on the link before class!); Millamant on literacy and courtship--2261-7 / 2395-2404: Lady Wishfort, Foible, Millamant, Mrs. Fainall, Sir Wilfull, Mirabell, Petulant, and Witwoud, from Lady Wishfort "Is Sir Rowland coming?" to Sir Wilfull "Lead on little Tony."  [Can you pass Millamant's "Final Exam" in English Lyric Poets 101?  Here is her syllabus: Sir John Suckling, "There never yet was woman made / Nor shall, but to be cursed" (Luminarium); Edmund Waller's  "The Story of Phoebus and Daphne Applied," (U. Toronto); and  Sir John Suckling, "I prithee spare me gentle boy" (Luminarium).  Please read the first Suckling poem and reread the other two before class so that you will be "informed readers" and worthy of Millamant's confidence as she tests the men in her life.]

Act V

5)  The "servant problem" and "You're fired!" C17-18-style--2272-3 / 2408-9: Lady Wishfort to Foible from Lady Wishfort "Out of my house" to Foible "I will be  a Bridewell bride . . . "

6) Trial by gossip, scandal, and the courts, TMZ.com C17-18 style--2276 / 2412: Lady Wishfort and Mrs. Marwood, from Mrs. Marwood "Prove it, madam?" to Mrs. Marwood "you must hear nothing else for some days."

7)  Showdown of the wits and rakes, literacy and deceit, Sir Wilfull the unlikely hero--2280-82 / 2415-18: Fainall, Lady Wishfort, Mrs. Fainall, Sir Willful, Waitwell, Mirabell, Mincing, Witwoud, Petulant, from Fainall "Your date of deliberation madam, is expired" to Sir Willful, "Hold, sir, now you may make your bear garden flourishes some where else, sir."