The Way of the World

The Way of the World


William Congreve

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The Way of the World: Act 4, Scene 8 Summary & Analysis

A drunken Witwoud joins the women in the parlor. When Mrs. Fainall asks him if Petulant and Wilfull, have made up, Witwoud responds that he had to leave because he was laughing so much he thought his sides would burst. He reveals that Wishfort came in and stopped the fight and the drinks. Millamant asks him what the dispute was about and he says that’s why he was laughing: there was no real dispute because both men were too angry to do or say anything to the other.
The argument is a testament to the foolish nature of the three men involved. Their drunkenness also reveals their immaturity. The men, Sir Wilfull, Petulant, and Witwoud, are no better than children that must be closely watched to ensure that they stay out of trouble.
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