The Way of the World

The Way of the World

Foible is Lady Wishfort’s servant. She was apparently once a beggar and perhaps homeless before Wishfort saved her from the streets and gave her a job. She is a smart and eloquent woman and Mirabell is very pleased with her service, promising to reward her with land and money for her help in his scheme. She has recently gotten married to Mirabell’s servant, Waitwell, in a secret ceremony. She is very much in love with her new husband and teases him often. She deeply respects Mrs. Fainall and is the only character who recognizes and is sensitive to the poor woman’s suffering and heartbreak in helping Mirabell marry Millamant.

Foible Quotes in The Way of the World

The The Way of the World quotes below are all either spoken by Foible or refer to Foible. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of The Way of the World published in 1993.
Act 3, Scene 5 Quotes

Poison him? Poisoning’s too good for him. Starve him, madam, starve him; marry Sir Rowland, and get him disinherited.

Related Characters: Foible (speaker), Mirabell, Lady Wishfort
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehende

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Let me see the glass. Cracks, say’st thou? Why, I am arrantly flayed: I look like an old peeled wall. Thou must repair me, Foible, before Sir Rowland comes, or I shall never keep up to my picture.

Related Characters: Lady Wishfort (speaker), Foible
Related Symbols: Masks
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Act 4, Scene 15 Quotes

Oh, what luck it is, Sir Rowland, that you were present at this juncture! This was the business that brought Mr. Mirabell disguised to Madam Millamant this afternoon. I thought something was contriving, when he stole by me and would have hid his face.

Related Characters: Foible (speaker), Lady Wishfort, Sir Rowland
Related Symbols: Masks
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate v

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Foible Character Timeline in The Way of the World

The timeline below shows where the character Foible appears in The Way of the World. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 2, Scene 4
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...his servant, will play the role. Mrs. Fainall suggests that he get Waitwell to persuade Foible to also help with the plot, at which point Mirabell informs her that he has... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...Wishfort in order to gain access to her wealth. But with Waitwell already married to Foible a marriage to Wishfort would be invalid. (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...marrying Millamant to Mirabell’s uncle. Mirabell responds that this, too, is part of his plan. Foible suggested the idea to Wishfort, under his instruction. (full context)
Act 2, Scene 6
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...asks him whether he wants her to be serious so he can tell her about Foible’s marriage and his own plot to marry Millamant. Mirabell is shocked, and asks how she... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 7
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Suddenly, he sees his “pair of turtles,” the newly married Foible and Waitwell. He calls out, teasing them by asking if they are still celebrating Valentine’s... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 8
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
It is now one o’ clock and Waitwell and Foible have arrived at Rosamond’s pond to meet Mirabell. Mirabell jokes that Waitwell seems to think... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
...“eye to business” and are ready to follow his orders. He tells Mirabell that if Foible can follow Mirabell’s directions as well as she follows his own instructions when they have... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Mirabell congratulates Foible on her marriage. Foible, though, is worried: she is “ashamed” because she left her lady,... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Foible changes the topic back to the issue at hand: Mirabell’s plan to marry Millamant. She... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Then, Foible asks Mirabell if he has seen Millamant. She tells him that she decided to tell... (full context)
Love and Money Theme Icon
Mirabell steps in and tells Waitwell to back off. The money is only for Foible, he warns. He tells her to prosper and promises to reward her with a lease... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Foible thanks him and assures him that they will succeed. She asks if he has any... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 9
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Mirabell and Waitwell are left standing near the pond. Waitwell jokes that Foible forgot to call him by his new name, Sir Rowland. Mirabell encourages him to transform... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
...and sitting at her dressing table, Wishfort asks her servant, Peg, if she’s heard from Foible yet. When Pegs says no, Wishfort complains that her constant worrying is ruining her complexion... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
...and says she’s surprised to see her still wearing her morning clothes. Wishfort replies that Foible has been away since morning and left no note as to her whereabouts or when... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...just the sound of his name brings blood to her face. Then Wishfort worries that Foible might have told Mirabell about an important errand Wishfort had sent Foible on, an errand... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Marwood reassures Wishfort of Foible’s integrity. But Wishfort replies that integrity is no match for Mirabell’s cunning. She says that... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
While talking to Marwood, Wishfort hears Foible approaching. She urges Marwood to hide in a closet while she, Wishfort, interrogates Foible about... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
When Foible enters, Wishfort rushes to question her about what kept her away so long and whether... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Wishfort vows to murder Mirabell by poisoning his wine. Foible proposes that Wishfort instead “starve him” by marrying Sir Rowland, which will disinherit Mirabell. Foible... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Foible also informs Wishfort that Rowland longs to see her, but Wishfort can’t stop talking about... (full context)
...skill she has to intrigue men, one that her niece, Millamant, only “affects.” She begs Foible to tell her more about Rowland, particularly whether he is handsome. She is happy to... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 6
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
After Wishfort leaves the room, Mrs. Fainall enters to warn Foible that Marwood saw her with Mirabell in the park and will tell Wishfort. Foible plays... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Foible explains that she wasn’t sure whether Mirabell told Mrs. Fainall the entirety of his plan... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Before leaving the room, Foible asks Mrs. Fainall to give Mirabell an update about Wishfort’s interest in Rowland and that... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 7
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Marwood comes out of her hiding place in the closet, having heard everything Foible and Mrs. Fainall said. She vows to watch Foible more closely and reflecting that her... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 9
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Foible reenters the dressing room to announce the arrival of Witwoud and Petulant for dinner. Wishfort... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 10
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Marwood leaves Foible and Wishfort to entertain the guests but finds, not Witwoud and Petulant, but rather a... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 18
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...alone in Wishfort’s house. She has just finished telling Fainall everything she has learned, from Foible’s involvement with Mirabell’s plot to his wife’s affair with Mirabell. Fainall complains that the problems... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
...is with Sir Rowland. The letter will reveal the truth of Sir Rowland’s identity and Foible’s betrayal. Marwood cautions that they try to avoid provoking Foible, who is quite clever and... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
At Wishfort’s house, Wishfort and Foible are waiting for Sir Rowland. Suddenly, Wishfort sees a coach approaching from her window. She... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Foible finds Millamant pacing about the living room, reciting poetry. Mrs. Fainall is there, too, watching... (full context)
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Foible comes back to say that Wilfull is coming. She asks if she should send Mirabell... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 6
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...and Wishfort. She urges Mirabell to slip out the back and wait for news from Foible. He departs. (full context)
Act 4, Scene 11
...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... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 13
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Suddenly, Foible arrives in the dressing room and interrupts the exchange between Sir Rowland and Wishfort. She... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 14
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Alone with his wife, Waitwell turns to Foible and complains about his job playing Sir Rowland. He begs her for a drink. Foible... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 15
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Foible instantly recognizes the penmanship as Marwood’s and knows that it can contain nothing good. She... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...to Rowland. She reads that Rowland is not a real person and is shocked. Though Foible exclaims to herself that the plan is ruined, Waitwell intervenes. Still pretending to be Sir... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Wishfort believes Foible and tells her that she remembers that her niece left rather quickly when Wilfull was... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
...the day in which all the events up to now have taken place. Wishfort and Foible are still in the dressing room. However, Wishfort is yelling angrily at Foible to get... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Foible begs her forgiveness but Wishfort is unmoved. She tells Foible that she will end up... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Wishfort doesn’t care. She is beyond furious that Foible would have destroyed her honor by marrying her to Mirabell’s servant. Foible tries to explain... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Mrs. Fainall enters the dressing room. Seeing Foible distressed, she tries to comfort her and find out what has happened. Foible tells her... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
...mother knows everything, then she also knows of her own affair with Mirabell. She tells Foible that her comfort is knowing that today is the last day she will have to... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Foible says that she can prove it. She tells her that Mincing also knows about the... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Mrs. Fainall orders Foible to tell Mincing that she must reveal what she knows about Marwood’s affair with Fainall... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 10
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...if she will allow two criminals to come forward. Wishfort readily agrees and Mirabell calls Foible and Mincing into the room. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 11
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Meanwhile, under questioning, Foible and Mincing both swear that Marwood was having an affair with Fainall. Wishfort, angrily, turns... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 14
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...and tells him that she will keep her promises. First, she pardons “Sir Rowland” and Foible. But she tells Mirabell that it will be awkward to break the news to her... (full context)