The Way of the World

The Way of the World

Fainall’s lover and Lady Wishfort’s best friend, Marwood is cunning and manipulative. Likely in love with Mirabell, who doesn’t love her, she is able to convince Fainall that she only loves him, while making him feel incredibly guilty for doubting her. Marwood is an adept liar, particularly around her female friends, Mrs. Fainall and Lady Wishfort. But even despite having a questionable moral compass, Marwood also gives very candid advice to those who would rather follow fashion trends at the expense of following their hearts. In particular, she advises Millamant to stop pretending to be interested in other men and Witwoud to acknowledge his step-brother Wilfull, rather than treat him like a stranger.

Marwood Quotes in The Way of the World

The The Way of the World quotes below are all either spoken by Marwood or refer to Marwood. 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 and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of The Way of the World published in 1993.
Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

But for the discovery of this amour, I am indebted to your friend, or your wife’s friend, Mrs. Marwood.

Related Characters: Mirabell (speaker), Fainall, Marwood
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

…if we will be happy, we must find the means in ourselves, and among ourselves.

Related Characters: Mrs. Arabella Fainall (speaker), Marwood
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

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Men are ever in extremes; either doting or averse. While they are lovers, if they have fire and sense, their jealousies are insupportable: and when they cease to love…they loathe, they look upon us with horror and distaste, they meet us like the ghosts of what we were, and as from such, fly from us.

Related Characters: Mrs. Arabella Fainall (speaker), Marwood
Page Number: 14
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 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.

Love will resume his empire in our breasts, and every heart, or soon or late, receive and readmit him as its lawful tyrant.

Related Characters: Marwood (speaker), Mrs. Arabella Fainall
Page Number: 14
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 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 2, Scene 3 Quotes

’Twas for my ease to oversee and wilfully neglect the gross advances made him by my wife, that by permitting her to be engaged, I might continue unsuspected in my pleasures, and take you oftener to my arms in full security. But could you think, because the nodding husband would not wake, that e’er the watchful lover slept?

Related Characters: Fainall (speaker), Mirabell, Marwood, Mrs. Arabella Fainall
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:

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And have you the baseness to charge me with the guilt, unmindful of the merit? To you it should be meritorious that I have been vicious. And do you reflect that guilt upon me which should lie buried in your bosom?

Related Characters: Marwood (speaker), Fainall
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3, Scene 18 Quotes

I, it seems, am a husband, a rank husband, and my wife a very errant, rank wife,—all in the way of the world.

Related Characters: Fainall (speaker), Marwood
Page Number: 42
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.

You married her to keep you; and if you can contrive to have her keep you better than you expected, why should you not keep her longer than you intended?

Related Characters: Marwood (speaker), Fainall, Mrs. Arabella Fainall
Page Number: 43
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

Let husbands be jealous, but let the lover still believe: or if he doubt, let it be only to endear his pleasure, and prepare the joy that follows, when he proves his mistress true. But let husbands’ doubts convert to endless jealousy; or if they have belief, let it corrupt to superstition and blind credulity.

Related Characters: Fainall (speaker), Marwood
Page Number: 44
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.

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Marwood Character Timeline in The Way of the World

The timeline below shows where the character Marwood appears in The Way of the World. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...notes that Wishfort only discovered the truth because it was revealed to her by Mrs. Marwood, a close family friend to both Wishfort and her daughter, Mrs. Fainall (Fainall’s wife). Mirabell... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Fainall ignores Mirabell’s insinuation that he’s having an affair with Marwood. Instead, Fainall asks Mirabell for details about why Marwood might have motives for ruining Mirabell’s... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Mirabell admits that he’s confused by Marwood’s sudden animosity toward him, as he never paid much attention to her. This answer, however,... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Two friends Mrs. Fainall and Mrs. Marwood walk in St. James’s Park, discussing men and love. Mrs. Fainall remarks that because men... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Mrs. Fainall is surprised by Marwood’s philosophy, as it stands in contrast to the anti-men ideology of Wishfort’s cabal. She accuses... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Marwood switches her stance. She tells Mrs. Fainall that she, too, despises men and only lied... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Mrs. Fainall replies that it’s too bad, then, that Marwood isn’t married to Mirabell. Marwood blushes, and wishes aloud if only she were. When Mrs.... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Marwood insists that she hates Mirabell, because he’s so proud, but Mrs. Fainall insists Marwood is... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Mirabell and Fainall, also walking in the park, have just seen Mrs. Fainall and Marwood and head towards them. Before the men are within earshot, Marwood jokes that Fainall has... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...walking with him she’d be avoiding a scandal. She and Mirabell walk off together, leaving Marwood and Fainall alone. (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Once alone with Marwood, Fainall comments that if he lived long enough to be “rid” of his wife, he... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Marwood asks Fainall if he wants to follow Mrs. Fainall and Mirabell. Fainall does not. Yet... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Marwood responds that in fact she is trying to protect Fainall’s “honor.” Fainall realizes her insinuation,... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Marwood is shocked. Fainall accuses her of loving Mirabell and “dissembling,” or hiding her love by... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Marwood angrily denies Fainall’s accusations. But Fainall persists: he says that he recognized and ignored Mirabell’s... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Marwood asks him to tell her what, exactly, he is accusing her of. Fainall responds that... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Marwood again denies this, saying that her “obligations” as a friend to Wishfort, someone she could... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Marwood retorts that female friendship is “more tender, more sincere, and more enduring” than the “vain”... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Fainall, chastened, says that Marwood misinterpreted him. He meant only to remind her of how she used to place even... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Marwood angrily says she’s going to reveal their affair to his wife and that she’d rather... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Fainall adds that if Marwood hadn’t been untrue, he would have repaid her expenses. He explains that if Marwood hadn’t... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Fainall replies that they must not part like this, and grabs her hands. Marwood tells him to let her go. Fainall apologizes, but Marwood doesn’t care. He refuses to... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Shocked to hear Marwood speak to him like this, Fainall promises her that he would never hurt her, but... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Suddenly, he sees Mirabell and his wife approaching. He urges Marwood to compose herself and hide her face behind a mask she has with her. Then,... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Mrs. Fainall and Mirabell watch Marwood and Fainall take another path in the park. Mrs. Fainall remarks that while she “only... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 8
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
...waiting for help to get dressed for dinner. Just then, she thinks that she spots Marwood walk by wearing a mask. Foible worries that Marwood might have seen her with Mirabell... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
...then calls her back to first hide the bottle before she answers the door. It’s Marwood. Wishfort tells Peg to invite her inside. (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Marwood greets Wishfort and says she’s surprised to see her still wearing her morning clothes. Wishfort... (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... (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,... (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 it coy... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
...asks Mrs. Fainall to give Mirabell an update about Wishfort’s interest in Rowland and that Marwood seems to be watching them. Mrs. Fainall exits with Foible, taking the servant’s staircase to... (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.... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 8
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Wishfort apologizes to Marwood for forgetting her in the closet. Marwood responds that she has been well entertained. Wishfort... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 9
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
...the dressing room to announce the arrival of Witwoud and Petulant for dinner. Wishfort implores Marwood to entertain the men, while she finishes getting dressed. (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... (full context)
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Millamant is annoyed with Marwood’s honesty and tells her so. She tells Mincing to invite Witwoud and Petulant up because... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 11
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...Mirabell’s love for her is no more a secret than it is a secret that Marwood revealed his love for her to Wishfort because Marwood is in love with Mirabell herself.... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Millamant laughs in Marwood’s face, and claims that Mirabell’s love for her, which she seems not to care about,... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Again, Millamant laughs at Marwood, commenting that she’s surprised that Mirabell loves her, Millamant, when Marwood is as beautiful and... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 13
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
...must disagree with one another, and then argue about who is the better arguer. But Marwood interrupts them by complimenting them both on being able to debate and handle issues very... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 14
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Witwoud, Petulant, and Marwood remain behind, and spot Sir Wilfull Witwoud being led to the house by a footman.... (full context)
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
...Wishfort that he has arrived and also asks the names of the men standing with Marwood. Again, the footman says he cannot help because he doesn’t know who they are, so... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 15
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
...that the man knows so little that he probably doesn’t even know his own name. Marwood, observing all this, remarks to Witwoud that his half-brother also seems to have forgotten him. (full context)
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Wilfull greets the group first. Marwood admonishes Witwoud for not speaking to Wilfull. Witwoud, in an aside, instructs Petulant to speak... (full context)
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Marwood quickly tells Wilfull that Petulant is just trying to be funny and that he is... (full context)
Wits and Fools Theme Icon
Marwood interrupts the argument by asking Wilfull about his intention to travel. Wilfull, still mad at... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 18
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
While everyone else is at dinner, Marwood and Fainall meet alone in Wishfort’s house. She has just finished telling Fainall everything she... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Marwood advises him to consider the bright side: he now has a reason to leave his... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Fainall curses and then complains that the fortune would easily have been his if Marwood had not told Wishfort that Mirabell was using her. For, if Mirabell had married Millamant... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Marwood urges him to hold on to his wife, then, until the money can come to... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Fainall likes this plan. Marwood then apologizes for suggesting to Wishfort that Millamant should marry Wilfull, as that might pose... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
The adulterers plan the next steps to ruin Mirabell’s plot. Marwood suggests that she could write an anonymous letter that will be delivered when Wishfort is... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...to transfer the deed for her estate to him. This he promises to share with Marwood. (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Marwood asks him if he believes that she hates Mirabell now and if he’ll be jealous... (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 whispers to Waitwell to take it... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...Fainall informs her that Mirabell has gone to post bond for Waitwell’s release. She recognizes Marwood and Fainall’s hand in this turn of events. Foible tells Mrs. Fainall how Marwood came... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
...to give Mrs. Fainall more comfort and so informs her of her husband’s affair with Marwood, which she knew nothing about. Mrs. Fainall is excited and asks Foible if she can... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...Mincing also knows about the affair, too, but that they were bound to secrecy by Marwood, who made them swear not to tell. However, Foible says that she has no qualms... (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 when called on. Mincing promises to help no matter what happens to... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
In the parlor, Wishfort praises Marwood as a true and good friend for all her help in revealing Mirabell’s falsehoods and... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...her affair, she must now part with her wealth. Mrs. Fainall tells her mother that Marwood is lying to her and that she is innocent. Wishfort doesn’t believe her daughter, while... (full context)
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Wishfort apologizes to Marwood and scolds her daughter for her ungratefulness. Mrs. Fainall, however, sticks to her story and... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 5
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
With her daughter gone, Wishfort reveals to Marwood her doubts about her daughter’s guilt. After considering how carefully she raised her daughter to... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Marwood tries to convince her that a trial would be a very bad thing because it... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 6
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Fainall has joined the women in the parlor to make his demands known to Wishfort. Marwood acts as the go-between and tries to make each concession seem more appealing to Wishfort... (full context)
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
...draw up the contract. He exits the room to arrange the document, leaving Wishfort in Marwood’s company. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 7
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Female (In)dependence Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Once Fainall leaves, Wishfort again complains to Marwood. She asks whether she should agree to Fainall’s terms. Marwood insists that it is a... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 8
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Marwood observes all of this quietly and says to herself that Mirabell is up to something.... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 10
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Marwood returns to the living room, with Fainall following. Fainall addresses Wishfort and tells her that... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 11
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Love and Money Theme Icon
Seeing the two servants enter together with Mrs. Fainall, Marwood instantly realizes that they are going to expose her affair with Fainall to Wishfort. She... (full context)
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 to Marwood and asks her whether... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 13
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
Men vs. Women Theme Icon
...and blocks Fainall. Fainall shouts that Mirabell hasn’t heard the last of this. Arabella addresses Marwood and tells her that she looks so upset that she better vent her anger. Marwood,... (full context)