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MonkeyNotes-The Way of the World by William Congreve
Table of Contents

Conflict

Protagonist

Mirabell is the protagonist and controls the action of the play.
The Way of the World is essentially about Mirabell and his love
for Millamant, and he holds the key to the intricate plot. The
reputations of the other characters also depend upon him.

Antagonist

Fainall and Mrs. Marwood perform the roles of the antagonists
and villains in the play. They are diametrically opposed to
Mirabell and Millamant. Both of them have clearly defined
objectives for seeking revenge. Fainall needs money.
Furthermore, he learns that both his wife and mistress love
Mirabell, and so he tries to ruin Mirabellís chance for success.
Mrs. Marwood wants revenge on Mirabell because he has not
responded to her advances. Together, Fainall and Mrs.
Marwood devise a counter plot to foil Mirabellís plans.

Climax

The plot rises to an intense climax in Act IV, when Sir
Rowlandís wooing of Lady Wishfort is interrupted by the
arrival of an anonymous letter sent by Mrs. Marwood in order to
reveal Mirabellís plot.



Outcome

The play ends in comedy, as Mirabell defeats the counter plot of
Fainall and Mrs. Marwood. He produces a deed in which Mrs.
Fainall had earlier signed over her fortune in trust to him.
Therefore, Fainall cannot claim this money, which no longer
belongs to his wife. Fainall and Mrs. Marwood leave vowing
revenge. Lady Wishfort consents to the marriage of Mirabell
and Millamant. Mirabell then hands the deed over to Mrs.
Fainall and hints at a possible reconciliation between her and
her husband. Although the play ends as a comedy, critics feel
that the ending is inconclusive because there is no guarantee
that Mrs. Fainall will live happily with her husband.

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MonkeyNotes-The Way of the World by William Congreve
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