The Way of the World

The Way of the World

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Mirabell Character Analysis

The protagonist of the play, Edward Mirabell is a fashionable, intellectual, and clever man-about-town, popular with the ladies. He was Mrs. Fainall’s lover before her marriage to Fainall and has broken his fair share of hearts (usually unintentionally) by not returning the sentiments of every woman who fancies him. Now in love with Millamant, he’s ready to develop a mature and monogamous relationship. Though he wants to get married, he finds himself on the bad side of quite a number of other characters who concoct plans of their own to ruin his chances at doing so, particularly Lady Wishfort and the adulterous couple Fainall and Mrs. Marwood. However, he does have a number of loyal followers ready to assist him in his plan to win Millamant, save her dowry, and defeat Fainall. Members of his team include his servant Waitwell, his servant’s wife, Foible, and his former lover and still good friend, Mrs. Arabella Fainall. He is quite generous toward these allies and helps each out of tough scrapes, often by using a combination of capital and cunning.

Mirabell Quotes in The Way of the World

The The Way of the World quotes below are all either spoken by Mirabell or refer to Mirabell. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of The Way of the World published in 1993.
Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

But for the discovery of this amour, I am indebted to your friend, or your wife’s friend, Mrs. Marwood.

Related Characters: Mirabell (speaker), Fainall, Marwood
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:

Mirabell and Fainall are playing cards at a chocolate house in London. The two men have been engaging in playful, competitive banter as they discuss Mirabell's quest to win Millamant's hand in marriage. In this passage, Mirabell tells Fainall that it was thanks to Mrs. Marwood that he realized Lady Wishfort used to think Mirabell was in love with her, and that upon learning he wasn't, decided to sabotage his relationship with Millamant, her niece. The use of the term "armour" to describe these complex social interactions highlights the theme of duplicity and false identity. 

Furthermore, Mirabell's words also subtly taunt Fainall. Mirabell first calls Mrs. Marwood "your friend," indicating that he knows that Fainall is having an affair with Mrs. Marwood. By then correcting himself to "your wife's friend," Mirabell highlights the confusing entanglement of people in their social circle. Mirabell's words suggest that although technically forbidden, adulterous affairs within their circle are usually open secrets. 

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Way of the World quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Act 1, Scene 3 Quotes

And for a discerning man somewhat too passionate a lover, for I like her with all her faults; nay, like her for her faults. Her follies are so natural, or so artful, that they become her, and those affectations which in another woman would be odious serve but to make her more agreeable.

Related Characters: Mirabell (speaker), Fainall, Millamant
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

Fainall and Mirabell have returned to their banter, and have discussed the social situation at Lady Wishfort's house. Mirabell then begins to talk about his love for Millamant, and in this passage tells Fainall that he loves Millamant "with all her faults," declaring that even these faults are attractive because they are "so natural, or so artful." Although somewhat exaggeratedly romantic, Mirabell's words highlight the depth and earnestness of his love for Millamant. Unlike the other characters in the play, many of whom are married to one person while carrying out an affair with another, Millamant clearly has his heart set on one woman only, such that other women now appear "odious" to him. He seems prepared to love Millamant not as an ideal but as a whole person, including her flaws.

Act 1, Scene 9 Quotes

Where modesty’s ill manners, ’tis but fit
That impudence and malice pass for wit.

Related Characters: Mirabell (speaker), Witwoud, Petulant
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

Witwoud has told Mirabell about Lady Wishfort's plan to sabotage him by setting Millamant up with Mirabell's uncle. Dejected, Mirabell has asked Fainall to leave the chocolate house and take a walk on the Mall with him. Witwoud and Petulant have tried to invite themselves along, leading Mirabell to eventually tell them directly that he doesn't want them to come because he doesn't like the way they harass women in public. In the final lines of this scene, Mirabell denounces Witwoud and Petulant's "ill manners," "impudence," and "malice." He suggests that they are not even that witty, despite being the fools of the play. This statement confirms MIrabell's moral righteousness relative to the other characters, who are rude and disrespectful to women. 

Act 2, Scene 3 Quotes

’Twas for my ease to oversee and wilfully neglect the gross advances made him by my wife, that by permitting her to be engaged, I might continue unsuspected in my pleasures, and take you oftener to my arms in full security. But could you think, because the nodding husband would not wake, that e’er the watchful lover slept?

Related Characters: Fainall (speaker), Mirabell, Marwood, Mrs. Arabella Fainall
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:

The lovers Fainall and Mrs. Marwood have been discussing Mirabell and Mrs. Fainall. Mrs. Marwood has expressed concerns that Mirabell and Mrs. Fainall may still be conducting an affair, but Fainall has turned this around in order to accuse Mrs. Marwood, his own lover, of being unfaithful to him with Mirabell. He claims that Mrs. Marwood assumed he would not notice her supposed affair with Mirabell because Fainall's wife was also making "gross advances" on him. This passage reveals the comically complex web of attachments within the social circle the characters inhabit. It also proves correct Mrs. Fainall's earlier point about men's obsessive jealousy. Fainall seems to think that both his wife and his lover are secretly in love with Mirabell, a fact that conveys his possessive (and hypocritical) paranoia. 

Act 2, Scene 4 Quotes

You should have just so much disgust for your husband as may be sufficient to make you relish your lover.

Related Characters: Mirabell (speaker), Fainall, Mrs. Arabella Fainall
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:

While watching Fainall and Mrs. Marwood walk together in the park, Mrs. Fainall has confessed to Mirabell that she despises her husband so much that she cannot bear to even look at him. Rather than being shocked by Mrs. Fainall's words, Mirabell encourages her feelings of hatred. In this passage, he tells her that she should feel "just so much disgust" for Fainall as to make her "relish" her lover. Although a strange and humorous sentiment, this is also a strikingly practical one. As the play shows, men and women are able to tolerate the husbands and wives they hate because of the relief their lovers provide. Although perhaps not the most harmonious or moral social system, Mirabell's words show that the characters are nonetheless able to find some degree of happiness within it. 

Act 2, Scene 5 Quotes

One’s cruelty is one’s power, and when one parts with one’s cruelty one parts with one’s power, and when one has parted with that, I fancy one’s old and ugly.

Related Characters: Millamant (speaker), Mirabell
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

Millamant has asked Mirabell if he was hurt to have been told to leave the "cabal" (get-together) the night before. At first she expresses regret at what happened, but then changes her line, telling Mirabell that she loves to make people suffer. Mirabell, unconvinced, responds that Millamant is only pretending to be cruel, and that her real problem is pleasing people too much. In this passage, Millamant insists that she is cruel, and that "one's cruelty is one's power." Although she is using rather exaggerated rhetoric––likely in order to provoke a reaction from Mirabell––Millamant's words nonetheless provide sophisticated insight on the nature of female independence and power. 

As a beautiful and charming woman, Millamant possesses a degree of agency and influence within the world of the play. However, as this passage indicates, this influence is conditional on her behaving cruelly to others. If she were to behave in an accommodating and agreeable way with everyone in her life––particularly men––Millamant would effectively be giving up her autonomy, as the course of her life would quickly be decided by the men around her. Millamant emphasizes the link between beauty, cruelty, and power by claiming that women only stop being cruel when they are "old and ugly," and assumedly could not influence anyone through their cruelty even if they tried. 

Act 2, Scene 6 Quotes

…for we shall be sick of one another. I shan’t endure to be reprimanded nor instructed; ’tis so dull to act always by advice, and so tedious to be told of one’s faults, I can’t bear it. Well, I won’t have you, Mirabell—I’m resolved…

Related Characters: Millamant (speaker), Mirabell
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

Millamant and Mirabell have been debating the viability of their relationship, with Millamant insisting that their personalities clash, that they will continue to argue, and that they will eventually grow tired of each other. In this passage, Millamant emphatically declares that she won't tolerate being "reprimanded or instructed," and concludes by telling Mirabell that she has made up her mind that they can't be together. Millamant's words reveal her powerful force of character. She exhibits no politeness, hesitance, or timidity in revealing the strength of her feelings to Mirabell. Clearly, Millamant prizes her independence above all, a fact conveyed by her refusal to be "instructed." However, as the rest of the play will show, her resolve is not quite as unwavering as it appears in this moment.

Act 2, Scene 7 Quotes

A fellow that lives in a windmill has not a more whimsical dwelling than the heart of a man that is lodged in a woman… To know this, and yet continue to be in love, is to be made wise from the dictates of reason, and yet persevere to play the fool by the force of instinct.

Related Characters: Mirabell (speaker)
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

Having told Mirabell that she doesn't want to marry him, Millamant leaves him alone onstage, where he reflects on what has just happened. He compares Mirabell to a "whirlwind," and then complains that a man living in a windmill would be in a less silly and erratic situation than a man whose heart "is lodged in a woman." He laments that, despite all his rational capabilities, he remains in love with Millamant, a fact that forces him to "play the fool."

Note the parallel between Mirabell's words here and the earlier conversation between Mrs. Marwood and Mrs. Fainall about the nature of love. In both cases, the characters accused the opposite gender of being fickle and ruthless in love. Despite his confidence and wisdom, Mirabell feels he is no match for the emotional unpredictability of being in love with Millamant. 

Act 3, Scene 5 Quotes

Poison him? Poisoning’s too good for him. Starve him, madam, starve him; marry Sir Rowland, and get him disinherited.

Related Characters: Foible (speaker), Mirabell, Lady Wishfort
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

Foible has told Lady Wishfort that she has given Wishfort's portrait to Sir Rowland, who has fallen in love with her. However, Foible has also pretended that Mirabell claimed that Wishfort is planning to marry for money. Wishfort, infuriated, declares that she will poison Mirabell. In this passage, Foible suggests that instead of poisoning him, Wishfort should "starve him" by marrying Sir Rowland and depriving Mirabell of his inheritance. Foible's words show the many kinds of violence to which the characters subject one another, some more literal and vicious than others. Of course, Foible needs to make sure that Wishfort doesn't actually poison Mirabell; her way of doing this, by claiming that "poisoning's too good for him," is humorous given her duplicity.

This passage also shows the extremes to which the characters take their manipulation and deceit. Ordinarily, it might seem rather absurd to marry someone simply in order to seek revenge on someone else––yet in the world of the play, the suggestion is not implausible.

Act 5, Scene 14 Quotes

From hence let those be warned, who mean to wed,
Lest mutual falsehood stain the bridal-bed:
For each deceiver to his cost may find
That marriage frauds too oft are paid in kind.

Related Characters: Mirabell (speaker)
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

In the last moments of the play, Lady Wishfort has pardoned "Sir Rowland" and Foible, and blessed Mirabell and Millamant's engagement. The happy couple kiss, and Wishfort exits. Just as a dance is about to begin, Mirabell delivers these rhyming couplets, a warning to future couples who are false and duplicitous. He claims that such couples ended up paying for their "marriage frauds" one way or another. It is of course somewhat ironic that a play filled with deceit, infidelity, secrecy, and disguise should end with a warning about "falsehood." On the other hand, Mirabell and Millamant are shown to exhibit a sincere and mature love for one another, suggesting that theirs might truly end up a happy marriage and thus a positive example to others.

Get the entire The Way of the World LitChart as a printable PDF.
The way of the world.pdf.medium

Mirabell Character Timeline in The Way of the World

The timeline below shows where the character Mirabell appears in The Way of the World. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
...midday in a London chocolate house, a fashionable meeting place for eighteenth-century gentlemen. Two men, Mirabell and Fainall, are playing cards. Fainall ends the game, though, when he senses that Mirabell’s... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Fainall encourages Mirabell to confide in him about his uncommonly glum demeanor. Mirabell reveals that he’s upset because... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Fainall also reminds Mirabell that he has only himself to blame for Wishfort’s low opinion of him. Up until... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Mirabell refuses to blame himself for what happened. He notes that Wishfort only discovered the truth... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Fainall ignores Mirabell’s insinuation that he’s having an affair with Marwood. Instead, Fainall asks Mirabell for details about... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Mirabell admits that he’s confused by Marwood’s sudden animosity toward him, as he never paid much... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
A messenger arrives at the chocolate house with important news for Mirabell: the secret wedding which he organized took place at the Duke’s Place a few hours... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Shortly after the messenger leaves, Fainall rejoins Mirabell and notes his improved mood. Mirabell responds only that he is engaged in a matter... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Rather than arguing further with Fainall, Mirabell describes his love of Millamant. He explains that he loves the entirety of Millamant, both... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
While Mirabell and Fainall are in conversation, a messenger approaches Betty, the chocolate house waitress, who has... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 5
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Having witnessed the exchange between Betty and the messenger, Mirabell and Fainall begin gossiping about Sir Wilfull. In particular, they criticize his plan to better... (full context)
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
...describes Sir Wilfull as an altogether lovable and harmless fool, with a penchant for drunkenness. Mirabell calls him “a fool with a good memory,” whose lack of wit makes him exceptionally... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 6
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Witwoud is shocked and scolds Mirabell for his impertinence, but then forgets what he meant to say next and apologizes for... (full context)
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
...money because Witwoud is the wittier of the two and always dominates conversations with Petulant. Mirabell tries to get Witwoud to bad mouth Petulant by suggesting that Petulant would not admit... (full context)
...refuses, though, to name the particular flaw of Petulant’s that most annoys him. This leads Mirabell and Fainall to suggest numerous defects in Petulant’s personality: illiteracy, small vocabulary, etc. But Witwoud... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 8
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Witwoud observes the exchange between Betty and the coachman and comments to Mirabell and Fainall that Petulant actually hired the women outside to pretend to be his lovers... (full context)
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Witwoud explains Petulant’s trick of “calling on himself” to a baffled Mirabell and Fainall. Petulant used to slip out of the chocolate house, rush home, disguise his... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 9
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
...tells Betty to send the coach away, even if the women inside snivel and cry. Mirabell and Fainall of course, begin to tease him about his ill treatment of the three... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Mirabell, however, half-jokingly, warns Petulant to stay away from Millamant. In response, Petulant suggests that he’s... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Mirabell wants even more details, and tells Petulant that he will regard him as wittier than... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Witwoud comforts Mirabell, though, explaining that Millamant laughs at Petulant’s advances and that his own interest in Millamant... (full context)
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
After Witwoud’s report, Mirabell invites Fainall to leave the chocolate house with him and go for a walk in... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Mrs. Fainall replies that it’s too bad, then, that Marwood isn’t married to Mirabell. Marwood blushes, and wishes aloud if only she were. When Mrs. Fainall notices Marwood’s blush,... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Marwood insists that she hates Mirabell, because he’s so proud, but Mrs. Fainall insists Marwood is lying. Marwood responds that Mrs.... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Mirabell and Fainall, also walking in the park, have just seen Mrs. Fainall and Marwood and... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...like “my dear” and “my soul.” Then, Fainall tells his wife that she looks ill. Mirabell gallantly says that Fainall is the only man who could think so, but Fainall responds... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Mrs. Fainall ignores her husband’s remark and addresses Mirabell, telling him that she wants to hear more about the subject he was discussing last... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...husband, joking that by not walking with him she’d be avoiding a scandal. She and Mirabell walk off together, leaving Marwood and Fainall alone. (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Marwood asks Fainall if he wants to follow Mrs. Fainall and Mirabell. Fainall does not. Yet Marwood encourages the idea because she has “a reason.” Fainall immediately... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...fact she is trying to protect Fainall’s “honor.” Fainall realizes her insinuation, that she believes Mirabell and Mrs. Fainall are more than friends. Marwood replies that she believes Mrs. Fainall does... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Marwood is shocked. Fainall accuses her of loving Mirabell and “dissembling,” or hiding her love by pretending to hate Mirabell. He also tells Marwood... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Marwood angrily denies Fainall’s accusations. But Fainall persists: he says that he recognized and ignored Mirabell’s “gross advances” toward Mrs. Fainall because, with his wife occupied, he could spend his time... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...of. Fainall responds that she is guilty of “infidelity, with loving another, with love of Mirabell.” Marwood demands he prove his “groundless accusation,” and repeats that she hates Mirabell. Fainall thinks... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...saying that her “obligations” as a friend to Wishfort, someone she could not stand seeing Mirabell toy with, led her to reveal to Wishfort his true intentions in flattering her. Fainall... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...forgive his jealousy. He adds that she’s “stung” that he’s discovered her secret love of Mirabell. (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...untrue, he would have repaid her expenses. He explains that if Marwood hadn’t intervened, and Mirabell and Millamant had married without Wishfort’s consent, Wishfort would’ve been so upset that she would’ve... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Suddenly, he sees Mirabell and his wife approaching. He urges Marwood to compose herself and hide her face behind... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Mrs. Fainall and Mirabell watch Marwood and Fainall take another path in the park. Mrs. Fainall remarks that while... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Mrs. Fainall agrees, admitting she loved with “indiscretion.” Mirabell suggests a formula of sorts for hating her husband: she should only feel as much... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Mirabell tells her that marrying Fainall was a means of saving her reputation. He reminds her... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Mirabell adds that he selected Fainall as a husband for her because he fit a certain... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Mrs. Fainall is not satisfied with this explanation and reproaches Mirabell, telling him that she “ought to stand in some degree of credit with him.” Mirabell... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...role of his uncle, Sir Rowland, the same relation that Witwoud described as estranged from Mirabell. Mirabell reveals that Waitwell, his servant, will play the role. Mrs. Fainall suggests that he... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Mirabell explains that he decided to have the servants get married because he feared that Waitwell... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Mirabell adds that Wishfort would have to consent to his marriage to Millamant and release Millamant’s... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Mrs. Fainall thinks Mirabell’s plan looks promising because her mother “will do anything to get a husband.” Mirabell agrees,... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 5
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
As he stands with Mrs. Fainall, Mirabell spots Millamant from afar. He compares the outfit she is wearing to a ship in... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Mirabell greets Millamant by remarking on the diminished number of friends she has following her these... (full context)
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Witwoud, not Millamant, responds to Mirabell’s teasing. He quips that Millamant’s male admirers used to gather around her “like moths about... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Millamant, who up to this point has ignored Mirabell, finally addresses him. She asks him whether he was upset about being asked to leave... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Mirabell asks if it pleases her to give him pain. Millamant admits that it does –... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Mirabell critiques her philosophy arguing that if she persists in being cruel, she will actually ruin... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Mirabell’s outlook annoys Millamant, who exclaims to Mrs. Fainall about the “vanity of these men,” who... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Mirabell sarcastically compliments Millamant’s confidence in her power to create her lovers, but Millamant remarks that... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Mirabell retorts that women owe “those two vain empty things” the “greatest pleasures of [her] life.”... (full context)
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
...Millamant dismisses Witwoud story as “fiction” and urges Mrs. Fainall to depart with. But at Mirabell’s discreet request, Mrs. Fainall asks to speak with Witwoud so that Mirabell can have a... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 6
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Mrs. Fainall and Witwoud depart, leaving Mirabell, Millamant, and Mincing. Mincing is ignored for the entirety of the scene and doesn’t speak.... (full context)
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Millamant retorts that he saw she was “engaged.” Mirabell exclaims she was entertaining a “herd of fools,” men who have no wit, and is... (full context)
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...she pleases herself and that “besides, sometimes to converse with fools is for [her] health.” Mirabell is outraged. He asks her if there is “a worse disease” than speaking to fools.... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Mirabell asks her if she’s following a “course of fools” as a medicinal regimen. Millamant warns... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Mirabell admits that they may not ever agree on matters of health, but Millamant continues to... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Mirabell responds that he would give something that would let her know he could not help... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Millamant teases Mirabell, telling him not to look “inflexibl[y] wise” like King Solomon does when he orders the... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Again, Mirabell urges her to stop being so “merry” for a moment and try to act serious.... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 7
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Now alone, Mirabell reflects on what just transpired between him and his love. He tells himself that a... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 8
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...now one o’ clock and Waitwell and Foible have arrived at Rosamond’s pond to meet Mirabell. Mirabell jokes that Waitwell seems to think that he was married to Foible for his... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
...both have an “eye to business” and are ready to follow his orders. He tells Mirabell that if Foible can follow Mirabell’s directions as well as she follows his own instructions... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Mirabell congratulates Foible on her marriage. Foible, though, is worried: she is “ashamed” because she left... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Foible changes the topic back to the issue at hand: Mirabell’s plan to marry Millamant. She tells Mirabell that she promised to bring Wishfort a picture... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Then, Foible asks Mirabell if he has seen Millamant. She tells him that she decided to tell Millamant of... (full context)
Love and Money Theme Icon
Mirabell steps in and tells Waitwell to back off. The money is only for Foible, he... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 9
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Mirabell and Waitwell are left standing near the pond. Waitwell jokes that Foible forgot to call... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
...she would return. Marwood says that she just saw Foible in the park talking to Mirabell. (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Wishfort is shocked, exclaiming that Mirabell makes her so angry that just the sound of his name brings blood to her... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue 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... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
...hide in a closet while she, Wishfort, interrogates Foible about why she was talking to Mirabell. (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...rushes to question her about what kept her away so long and whether she’s told Mirabell anything. Foible lies, saying that she’s given Wishfort’s picture to Sir Rowland, who fell immediately... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Wishfort vows to murder Mirabell by poisoning his wine. Foible proposes that Wishfort instead “starve him” by marrying Sir Rowland,... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 6
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...Wishfort leaves the room, Mrs. Fainall enters to warn Foible that Marwood saw her with Mirabell in the park and will tell Wishfort. Foible plays it coy because she does not... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Foible explains that she wasn’t sure whether Mirabell told Mrs. Fainall the entirety of his plan to marry Millamant. She compliments Mirabell for... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Before leaving the room, Foible asks Mrs. Fainall to give Mirabell an update about Wishfort’s interest in Rowland and that Marwood seems to be watching them.... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 7
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
...Fainall said. She vows to watch Foible more closely and reflecting that her suspicion that Mirabell and Mrs. Fainall were once lovers has now been confirmed. She spies Wishfort coming back. (full context)
Act 3, Scene 10
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...that Millamant surrounds herself with fools to hide her affair with a “lover of sense,” Mirabell, and that Millamant should go “barefaced” by revealing to the town what they already suspect:... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 11
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Once Mincing departs, Millamant angrily responds that Mirabell’s love for her is no more a secret than it is a secret that Marwood... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Millamant laughs in Marwood’s face, and claims that Mirabell’s love for her, which she seems not to care about, has made him so upset... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 18
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...house. She has just finished telling Fainall everything she has learned, from Foible’s involvement with Mirabell’s plot to his wife’s affair with Mirabell. Fainall complains that the problems they face are... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...now has a reason to leave his wife. However, first, she advises, he should prevent Mirabell’s plan to marry Millamant and gain her dowry. (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...that the fortune would easily have been his if Marwood had not told Wishfort that Mirabell was using her. For, if Mirabell had married Millamant without Wishfort’s consent, Mirabell would have... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...plan that would get Fainall the money. If he reveals Mrs. Fainall’s former affair with Mirabell to Wishfort and threatens to leave Mrs. Fainall because of it, Wishfort will do anything... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
The adulterers plan the next steps to ruin Mirabell’s plot. Marwood suggests that she could write an anonymous letter that will be delivered when... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Marwood asks him if he believes that she hates Mirabell now and if he’ll be jealous again. Fainall denies being jealous and seals his promise... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
...living room, reciting poetry. Mrs. Fainall is there, too, watching Millamant. Foible informs Millamant that Mirabell has been waiting the last half hour to talk with her alone but Wishfort has... (full context)
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Foible comes back to say that Wilfull is coming. She asks if she should send Mirabell away. Millamant changes her mind and decides to see Mirabell. She tells Mrs. Fainall to... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 5
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Mirabell quietly enters the room and begins to recite the next lines of the poem by... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
...her husband assures her that she can keep her independence and will provide her pleasure. Mirabell asks her if she wants both now, or would she be content to wait for... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
...the habits she has developed as an independent woman, like waking up late and daydreaming. Mirabell remarks that if she keeps those habits up, then he will wake up as early... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
...be called by pet names once married. She begins to outline her ideal marriage to Mirabell. They won’t kiss in public or act familiar towards one another. They won’t go to... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Mirabell asks her if she has any more “conditions” to add and compliments her demands as... (full context)
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Mirabell’s accepts her conditions and says that when she dwindles into being a wife then he... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 6
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
...living room, Millamant looks to Mrs. Fainall and asks her for advice: should she marry Mirabell? She admits that she really wants to. Mrs. Fainall agrees that she should. Millamant, however,... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Mrs. Fainall interrupts the happy couple to tell Mirabell that he has no time to talk or stay with Millamant. Her mother is coming... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 7
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...ignoring everything that Mrs. Fainall has just said, admits to Mrs. Fainall that she loves Mirabell “violently.” Mrs. Fainall is exasperated and tells her that if she ever doubts Mirabell, then... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 12
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...so long. He admits that he also wants to marry her to gain revenge against Mirabell. (full context)
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... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 15
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
...Roland exclaims that he recognizes the handwriting and that the letter is from his nephew, Mirabell. Wishfort, happy to see him openly jealous, tries to reassure him that she will answer... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...encouraged by this, quickly whispers to him to convince Wishfort that the letter is from Mirabell. He does so and Wishfort begins to believe Rowland. Waitwell tells Wishfort that he has... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...Sir Rowland. Sir Rowland cuts off the dialogue between the women. He vows to kills Mirabell, then and there, with his pistol. Wishfort begs him not to break the law. She... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
...angrily at Foible to get out of her house. She has discovered Foible’s hand in Mirabell’s plan sometime between the end of the last scene of Act 4 and the beginning... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...the streets where she found her. Foible tries to plead her innocence, telling Wishfort that Mirabell seduced her and promised her all sorts of rewards for her help. (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...She is beyond furious that Foible would have destroyed her honor by marrying her to Mirabell’s servant. Foible tries to explain that Waitwell was already married to her and that she... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...and her husband are doomed to be sent to prison. Mrs. Fainall informs her that Mirabell has gone to post bond for Waitwell’s release. She recognizes Marwood and Fainall’s hand in... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
...that, if her mother knows everything, then she also knows of her own affair with Mirabell. She tells Foible that her comfort is knowing that today is the last day she... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...at a crying Wishfort that he’ll have her fortune or get divorced. Mincing continues that Mirabell and Millamant have sent her to find Wilfull. She believes that Millamant will indeed marry... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
...Wishfort praises Marwood as a true and good friend for all her help in revealing Mirabell’s falsehoods and the imposter, Sir Rowland. She also thanks her for taking the lead role... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 8
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...no role in plotting against her aunt. She tells her aunt that she has commanded Mirabell to come witness the ceremony after he formally releases her from the engagement in front... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...she sees him in her house. Millamant, addressing Wilfull, asks him if it’s true that Mirabell is to be his travel companion when he leaves for the continent. He admits that... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Marwood observes all of this quietly and says to herself that Mirabell is up to something. She starts to leave but Wishfort, alarmed, asks her to stay.... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 9
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
As Mirabell enters the room, Wilfull whispers that he will stand by him and support him in... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Mirabell apologizes profusely to Wishfort. He tells her that he only wants to be forgiven and... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Finally, Wishfort relents and forgives Mirabell, explaining that she does so because Wilfull wants her too. But, she adds, she wants... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Wishfort tells herself that Mirabell has “witchcraft” in his eyes and in his tongue but that seeing him has rekindled... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 10
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...could be true. But Millamant assures him that she is prepared to marry Wilfull and Mirabell confirms that he has broken off the engagement, leaving nothing in the way of the... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...that he will turn his wife out and tell the town about her affair with Mirabell. (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Wishfort wails for a way to prevent Fainall from ruining her. Mirabell begins to answer that he knows of a remedy but dismisses his idea because he... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Hearing this, Wishfort grows excited and hopeful. She tells Mirabell that she will forgive him for everything he’s done if he prevents Fainall’s plan from... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 11
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...that he has wronged her, but she has proven him false. Wishfort is disappointed by Mirabell’s smoking gun. Mirabell assures her that there are more surprises for her and asks permission... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 12
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...what he wants. Waitwell tells her that he has brought the papers at last. As Mirabell accepts the box, he tells Wishfort to remember her promise. Then, he asks for Petulant... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 13
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Petulant and Witwoud finally show up with no clue about what’s going on, as usual. Mirabell reminds them that they once served as his witnesses to a certain legal document. Then,... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Mirabell addresses Fainall and informs him that before his wife married him, she signed away her... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
At first Fainall thinks that Mirabell is bluffing. But then he begins to read the document, and realizes that he has... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 14
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...Wishfort turns to her daughter and praises her prudence. Arabella gives all the credit to Mirabell, her “cautious friend.” Wishfort, then, turns to thank Mirabell for his help and tells him... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Mirabell assures her not to worry. He tells her that he only needs her consent to... (full context)
Love and Money Theme Icon
Turning to the lovers, Wishfort blesses their engagement. Millamant complains good-naturedly about Mirabell not “taking” her. She asks him whether he wants her to give herself to him... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...the festivities, claiming that she is fatigued and worried that Fainall will do something desperate. Mirabell reassures her that Fainall cannot hurt the family. Before Wishfort leaves, Mirabell returns the deed... (full context)