The Way of the World

The Way of the World


William Congreve

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The Way of the World: Act 5, Scene 12 Summary & Analysis

When Waitwell enters the room carrying a box of papers, Wishfort asks him 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 and Witwoud, who are slow to arrive because they have just woken up from their drunken naps. Fainall expresses his annoyance at Mirabell’s slow and suspenseful manner of revealing his plan.
Mirabell has clearly thought beforehand about the order in which he wanted to reveal his plan. Building up slowly to the most important revelations, Mirabell is the center of attention, a role he is all too used to being in, especially in Wishfort’s house. Waitwell’s comment about the box is an ironic reference to when he was pretending to be Sir Rowland and went off to get his papers to give to Wishfort as a sign of his love.
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