The Way of the World

The Way of the World

The Way of the World Act 4, Scene 10 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Wishfort joins Millamant, Mrs. Fainall, and Witwoud. She has dragged along a very drunk and, apparently, smelly Wilfull to propose to Millamant. Wishfort yells at Wilfull to behave himself, warning him that Millamant will never have him in this condition. Wilfull responds by accusing his aunt of withholding her liquor from him. He offers to pay her for his tab and hands her a purse of money so he can have more wine. He sings a drinking song and promises her he will marry his cousin if she requires him to because he’s a man of his word.
The third proposal of the night for Millamant is arguably the worst. Not only is Wilfull being made to propose against his will by his aunt, he bluntly admits as much to everyone around him. At this point, Wilfull’s drunken behavior is beyond pardonable. While he may have seemed misguided and naïve while sober, now he just seems disgusting and pathetic to the posh Londoners.
Themes
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Wishfort tries to smooth over Wilfull’s outrageous behavior, saying that he’s been drinking to her health. Wilfull affirms this and tells Millamant that if she’s ready to marry him, he’s ready too, even if she’s not a virgin. If she doesn’t want to marry him, he tells her that they should all have another round of drinks.
Despite Wilfull’s antics, Wishfort is still trying to sell her niece on the prospect of marrying Wilfull. Wilfull’s comments about marriage are both vulgar and deeply unserious, again offering a contrast to Mirabell.
Themes
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Millamant is disgusted, and asks her aunt to be excused before she faints from Willful’s stench. She urges Mrs. Fainall to leave with her. The two women exit, leaving Wishfort behind with Wilfull and Witwoud.
Luckily for Millamant, her aunt doesn’t seem to be forcing the marriage on her. Millamant has the final power to accept or deny the suitors her aunt suggests.
Themes
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon