The Way of the World

The Way of the World


William Congreve

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The Way of the World: Act 4, Scene 11 Summary & Analysis

Wishfort, exasperated with Wilfull, tells him he stinks and to get out of her sight. Meanwhile, Foible has arrived. She whispers in Wishfort’s ear that Sir Rowland is growing impatient waiting for her return. Wishfort begs Witwoud to babysit her nephew, promising to reward him greatly, so that she can get back to more important matters.
Rather than a means of getting the brothers to bond, urging Witwoud to stay with Wilfull secures Wishfort alone time with her suitor. Financial incentive is closely associated with family duty, as Wishfort’s promise to reward Witwoud for his help with Wilfull indicates.
Witwoud invites Wilfull to a cockfight. Wilfull agrees to this idea and asks whether there will be wenches there. Wishfort, hearing all of this, resignedly admits to herself that Wilfull, at the moment, is not ready to marry her niece. She hopes that after he has been abroad he will prove more suitable to Millamant.
The two men have in common a taste for lowbrow pursuits. Their debauched evening plans lead Wishfort to finally realize the futility of trying to wed her sophisticated niece to her unrefined nephew.
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