The Way of the World

The Way of the World

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The Way of the World Act 3, Scene 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Marwood greets Wishfort and says she’s surprised to see her still wearing her morning clothes. Wishfort replies that Foible has been away since morning and left no note as to her whereabouts or when she would return. Marwood says that she just saw Foible in the park talking to Mirabell.
It doesn’t take much for the news of Foible and Mirabell’s conference in the park to be brought up. Importantly, Marwood doesn’t lead with this news but brings it up casually. Perhaps she doesn’t yet suspect Foible, or perhaps she’s being patient as she pieces things together.
Themes
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Wishfort is shocked, exclaiming that Mirabell makes her so angry that just the sound of his name brings blood to her face. Then Wishfort worries that Foible might have told Mirabell about an important errand Wishfort had sent Foible on, an errand that needs to be kept secret from Mirabell.
Wishfort is not one to keep a secret from Marwood. She has been waiting for someone to whom she could complain to about Mirabell and Marwood, who we know is lying to her, is her favorite confidant. The errand Wishfort mentions of course relates to Sir Rowland, meaning that this “secret” from Mirabell is in fact all part of Mirabell’s plan, creating a scene of dramatic irony in which the audience knows more than the characters onstage.
Themes
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Marwood reassures Wishfort of Foible’s integrity. But Wishfort replies that integrity is no match for Mirabell’s cunning. She says that Mirabell could wheedle the truth out of even Foible if he felt that there was something to gain.
Now that she has experienced Mirabell’s cunning first hand, Wishfort is not eager to repeat her mistake. She is rightfully cautious toward anyone who has dealings with Mirabell. At the same time, she completely underestimates Foible’s ability to be duplicitous, perhaps because she just trusts women or because she thinks that the lower classes are just naturally loyal to their “masters.”
Themes
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
While talking to Marwood, Wishfort hears Foible approaching. She urges Marwood to hide in a closet while she, Wishfort, interrogates Foible about why she was talking to Mirabell.
This is an important event in the play. Marwood’s hidden location will deepen the intrigue and create significant problems for Mirabell’s plan.
Themes
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
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