The Way of the World

The Way of the World

Pdf fan Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

The Way of the World Act 4, Scene 12 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Wishfort rejoins Waitwell, who is disguised as Sir Rowland, in her dressing room. She apologizes for her absence and tells him that they should act more casually with each other, now that they’re better acquainted. They begin to speak of their plans to marry. Wishfort, at first, suggests that they wait at least two days before getting married in order to be decent. But Sir Rowland claims that he will die of a broken heart if she forces him to wait so long. He admits that he also wants to marry her to gain revenge against Mirabell.
Waitwell plays his part convincingly, though it doesn’t take much convincing for the love-starved and revenge-motivated Wishfort to fall in love with Sir Rowland. Sir Rowland’s eagerness to marry her makes Wishfort feel flattered but has more to do with Waitwell’s desire to please his master and reap the rewards Mirabell has promised if he can get Wishfort to accept a proposal.
Themes
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
When Wishfort tells him about all the ways that Mirabell has wronged her, Waitwell pretends to be angered by this news and vows to kill Mirabell. Wishfort urges him to reconsider murder and instead suggests that he “starve” Mirabell by disinheriting him.
Waitwell acts the part of a passionate lover threatening to kill to protect his beloved. Meanwhile, Wishfort has adopted—word for word—Foible’s suggestion to starve rather than kill Mirabell. She has adopted Foibles’ wit as her own (without attribution, of course).
Themes
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Rowland quickly agrees to follow her plan instead. Wishfort, happy they have decided to take this course of action, goes back to flirting with Rowland. She tells him not to think that she wants to marry him because she wants revenge or that she is tired of being celibate. Rowland tells her that he thinks no such thing, but she continues as if she hasn’t heard him.
As Wishfort fishes awkwardly for compliments, everything seems to be going perfectly with Mirabell’s plot. Of course, the audience knows that Marwood and Fainall are about to act, so this entire scene is like a double dose of dramatic irony in which the audience knows that Wishfort is being taken in by a plot, while also knowing that Waitwell is also about to be ensnared by Fainall and Marwood’s competing plot!
Themes
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Wits and Fools Theme Icon