The Way of the World

The Way of the World


William Congreve

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The Way of the World: Act 4, Scene 14 Summary & Analysis

Alone with his wife, Waitwell turns to Foible and complains about his job playing Sir Rowland. He begs her for a drink. Foible teases him for being so easily tired out by “panting” his love and lying to a lady. Waitwell tells her that Wishfort is “the antidote to desire” and that Foible herself will suffer for it. He says that he has no more energy for “iteration of nuptials” for the next 48 hours and is ready to stop pretending to be Sir Rowland.
Waitwell and Foible enjoy a private moment, shedding their contrived personas to share their true sentiments. They are each other’s own reward and are eager to be done with Mirabell’s scheme so they can enjoy each other’s company and the simple pleasures of life as husband and wife. Meanwhile, for the audience this seems clearly to be the calm before the storm. Through dramatic irony, Congreve makes it so that the audience feels almost like they are a part of the schemes taking place.
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