The Way of the World

The Way of the World

Spoiled, beautiful, and rich Millamant could have any man she wants and knows it too. She is very fashionable and popular in London. Though she can seem cruel and uncaring towards Mirabell, she does love him but is very guarded with her emotions. She is very independent and loves poetry. Before she gets engaged, she enjoys keeping Mirabell on his toes and tries to make him jealous by spending time with the fools, Witwoud and Petulant, even though she isn’t romantically interested in them. She mainly supports her aunt Wishfort in all things and doesn’t initially offer much resistance to her aunt’s proposition to marry her off to first Sir Rowland and then her cousin, Sir Wilfull, in order to thwart Mirabell. When she does agree to marry Mirabell, she sets multiple conditions to assert her continued independence within the marriage, which Mirabell, after setting some conditions of his own, readily accepts.

Millamant Quotes in The Way of the World

The The Way of the World quotes below are all either spoken by Millamant or refer to Millamant. 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 1, Scene 3 Quotes

And for a discerning man somewhat too passionate a lover, for I like her with all her faults; nay, like her for her faults. Her follies are so natural, or so artful, that they become her, and those affectations which in another woman would be odious serve but to make her more agreeable.

Related Characters: Mirabell (speaker), Fainall, Millamant
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2, Scene 5 Quotes

One’s cruelty is one’s power, and when one parts with one’s cruelty one parts with one’s power, and when one has parted with that, I fancy one’s old and ugly.

Related Characters: Millamant (speaker), Mirabell
Page Number: 23
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 6 Quotes

…for we shall be sick of one another. I shan’t endure to be reprimanded nor instructed; ’tis so dull to act always by advice, and so tedious to be told of one’s faults, I can’t bear it. Well, I won’t have you, Mirabell—I’m resolved…

Related Characters: Millamant (speaker), Mirabell
Page Number: 24
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.

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Millamant Character Timeline in The Way of the World

The timeline below shows where the character Millamant 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
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...upset because the night before, while he was visiting his love, the popular and beautiful Millamant, both Millamant and her fifty-year-old aunt, Lady Wishfort, asked him to leave in front of... (full context)
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...Wishfort’s low opinion of him. Up until recently, Mirabell had been hiding his advances toward Millamant by also flattering Wishfort. Wishfort mistook Mirabell’s flirtation as evidence that he loved her. Once... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
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...company his wife meets at these parties because most of the women are relatives, like Millamant, his wife’s cousin, and the men are pathetic. Mirabell disagrees with Fainall, suggesting that scandal... (full context)
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Rather than arguing further with Fainall, Mirabell describes his love of Millamant. He explains that he loves the entirety of Millamant, both her charms and her flaws.... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 5
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...abroad. During this conversation, Mirabell learns that Sir Wilfull is related to Mrs. Fainall and Millamant—his mother is Wishfort’s sister. Fainall remarks that if Mirabell were to marry Millamant, then he,... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 9
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...use. Petulant, then, jokes that the three women are Witwoud’s cousins and aunt: Mrs. Fainall, Millamant, and Wishfort, respectively. Rather than being offended, Witwoud laughs off Petulant’s insult toward his family. (full context)
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Mirabell, however, half-jokingly, warns Petulant to stay away from Millamant. In response, Petulant suggests that he’s not the biggest threat to Mirabell’s courtship of Millamant.... (full context)
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...he can. Fainall, remarks that Mirabell seems worried about Petulant and Witwoud as competitors for Millamant’s affections. (full context)
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Witwoud comforts Mirabell, though, explaining that Millamant laughs at Petulant’s advances and that his own interest in Millamant is not serious. Though... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
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...would have repaid her expenses. He explains that if Marwood hadn’t intervened, and Mirabell and Millamant had married without Wishfort’s consent, Wishfort would’ve been so upset that she would’ve disinherited Millamant.... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
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...needs her help by telling her that he will share his whole plan to marry Millamant and secure her fortune. He admits that in doing so, she has the power to... (full context)
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Mirabell adds that Wishfort would have to consent to his marriage to Millamant and release Millamant’s fortune before he would produce the certificate. Mrs. Fainall, evidently in approval... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 5
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As he stands with Mrs. Fainall, Mirabell spots Millamant from afar. He compares the outfit she is wearing to a ship in “full sail,”... (full context)
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Witwoud, not Millamant, responds to Mirabell’s teasing. He quips that Millamant’s male admirers used to gather around her... (full context)
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Millamant says she has denied herself “airs” today. She begins to set up her own simile,... (full context)
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Millamant is annoyed with him for interrupting her and asks him for a “truce” with his... (full context)
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Millamant asks Mincing to stand between her and Witwoud’s “wit” and Witwoud encourages Mincing to follow... (full context)
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Mrs. Fainall changes the topic, asking Millamant, why she took so long to meet her at the park. Millamant complains that she... (full context)
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Mrs. Fainall enquires again what took Millamant so long to arrive at the park. Mincing reminds her that she stayed to look... (full context)
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Witwoud, interested, asks Millamant if pinning her hair with letters is the best way to curl hair. He also... (full context)
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Millamant, who up to this point has ignored Mirabell, finally addresses him. She asks him whether... (full context)
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Mirabell asks if it pleases her to give him pain. Millamant admits that it does – she “love[s] to give pain.” Mirabell responds that she’s pretending... (full context)
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Millamant asks him to forgive her for being a people pleaser because she thinks that “one’s... (full context)
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Mirabell’s outlook annoys Millamant, who exclaims to Mrs. Fainall about the “vanity of these men,” who believe that feminine... (full context)
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Mirabell sarcastically compliments Millamant’s confidence in her power to create her lovers, but Millamant remarks that women owe their... (full context)
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...retorts that women owe “those two vain empty things” the “greatest pleasures of [her] life.” Millamant asks him how this is so. Mirabell explains that women owe their lovers the pleasure... (full context)
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...much without stopping that her echo has to wait until her death to repeat her. Millamant dismisses Witwoud story as “fiction” and urges Mrs. Fainall to depart with. But at Mirabell’s... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 6
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Mrs. Fainall and Witwoud depart, leaving Mirabell, Millamant, and Mincing. Mincing is ignored for the entirety of the scene and doesn’t speak. Mirabell... (full context)
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Millamant retorts that he saw she was “engaged.” Mirabell exclaims she was entertaining a “herd of... (full context)
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Millamant replies that she pleases herself and that “besides, sometimes to converse with fools is for... (full context)
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Mirabell asks her if she’s following a “course of fools” as a medicinal regimen. Millamant warns him to back off, and that if he persists speaking to her with “this... (full context)
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Mirabell admits that they may not ever agree on matters of health, but Millamant continues to criticize their relationship in general. She tells him that in terms of their... (full context)
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...he would give something that would let her know he could not help loving her. Millamant scolds him gently, telling him not to “look grave” and then asks if he has... (full context)
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Millamant teases Mirabell, telling him not to look “inflexibl[y] wise” like King Solomon does when he... (full context)
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Millamant calls him tedious for being so serious and bids him farewell. She sees Mrs. Fainall... (full context)
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...her to stop being so “merry” for a moment and try to act serious. But Millamant interrupts him and asks him whether he wants her to be serious so he can... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 8
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Foible changes the topic back to the issue at hand: Mirabell’s plan to marry Millamant. She tells Mirabell that she promised to bring Wishfort a picture of Mirabell’s (fake) uncle,... (full context)
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Then, Foible asks Mirabell if he has seen Millamant. She tells him that she decided to tell Millamant of Mirabell’s plan because she was... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
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...will disinherit Mirabell. Foible adds that Mirabell still thinks that Wishfort’s plan is to marry Millamant to Sir Rowland and doesn’t suspect Wishfort’s interest. Wishfort is so angry that Mirabell thinks... (full context)
...of dyingness” is a special 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... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 6
Jealousy, Deceit, and Intrigue Theme Icon
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...she does not know whether Mrs. Fainall is in on Mirabell’s secret plan to marry Millamant. Mrs. Fainall reveals that she knows about Mirabell’s entire plan, including Foible’s marriage to Waitwell... (full context)
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...she wasn’t sure whether Mirabell told Mrs. Fainall the entirety of his plan to marry Millamant. She compliments Mirabell for being such a good gentleman and Mrs. Fainall for being so... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 8
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...Willful is forty, he should think about getting married instead and suggests that he and Millamant would make a good match. Wishfort promises to think about that idea more, especially because... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 10
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...to entertain the guests but finds, not Witwoud and Petulant, but rather a very angry Millamant and her servant Mincing. Millamant greets Marwood and complains that Petulant upset her so much... (full context)
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Millamant is annoyed with Marwood’s honesty and tells her so. She tells Mincing to invite Witwoud... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 11
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Once Mincing departs, Millamant angrily responds that Mirabell’s love for her is no more a secret than it is... (full context)
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Millamant laughs in Marwood’s face, and claims that Mirabell’s love for her, which she seems not... (full context)
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Again, Millamant laughs at Marwood, commenting that she’s surprised that Mirabell loves her, Millamant, when Marwood is... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 12
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Mincing returns to tell Millamant that the men will be ready soon. Millamant instructs Mincing to have the singer hired... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 13
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When Witwoud and Petulant arrive, Millamant asks them whether they’re finished being hostile toward her and each other. They both make... (full context)
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Petulant claims that learning hurts him and is his enemy. Millamant comments that she hates illiterate men and thinks them incapable of properly wooing a lady.... (full context)
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...he continues, a man doesn’t need a book for the night that follows the wedding. Millamant, disgusted, leaves the room. (full context)
Act 3, Scene 18
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...to leave his wife. However, first, she advises, he should prevent Mirabell’s plan to marry Millamant and gain her dowry. (full context)
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...Marwood had not told Wishfort that Mirabell was using her. For, if Mirabell had married Millamant without Wishfort’s consent, Mirabell would have forfeited the dowry and the money would have gone... (full context)
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Fainall likes this plan. Marwood then apologizes for suggesting to Wishfort that Millamant should marry Wilfull, as that might pose an obstacle to this new plan. However, Fainall... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
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...Wishfort sees a coach approaching from her window. She asks Foible whether Wilfull has greeted Millamant as she ordered. Foible informs her that Wilfull is busy getting drunk in the parlor.... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
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Foible finds Millamant pacing about the living room, reciting poetry. Mrs. Fainall is there, too, watching Millamant. Foible... (full context)
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...back to say that Wilfull is coming. She asks if she should send Mirabell away. Millamant changes her mind and decides to see Mirabell. She tells Mrs. Fainall to entertain Wilfull... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
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...him, telling him he has come at the right moment, and encourages him to woo Millamant right now. Wilfull responds that his aunt wants him to do the same, but that... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
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...through the door to let him out because he’s forgotten to wear his gloves. As Millamant paces and recites poetry, he tries to make small talk with her. She ignores him... (full context)
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...and is confused. He tells her that he can only answer in plain English. Suddenly, Millamant turns to address Wilfull and asks why he has come to see her. He responds... (full context)
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Millamant tells him that she hates walking and anything related to the country. She also reveals... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 5
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...room and begins to recite the next lines of the poem by Edmund Waller that Millamant is trying to learn from The Story of Phoebus and Daphne, Applied: “Like Daphne she,... (full context)
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They begin to speak about their ideas of love. Millamant says that she won’t marry unless her husband assures her that she can keep her... (full context)
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Millamant tells him not to be impertinent and insists that she cannot give up the habits... (full context)
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Millamant agrees to this and tells him that she also won’t be called by pet names... (full context)
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...accommodating husband. They agree to abide by the rules they have devised and Mirabell kisses Millamant’s hand to seal the contract. Mrs. Fainall approaches to bear witness to their agreement. (full context)
Act 4, Scene 6
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Still in the living room, Millamant looks to Mrs. Fainall and asks her for advice: should she marry Mirabell? She admits... (full context)
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...happy couple to tell Mirabell that he has no time to talk or stay with Millamant. Her mother is coming and will be enraged if she sees him in the house.... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 7
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Once they are alone, Mrs. Fainall tells Millamant that Wilfull has gotten so drunk and noisy that her mother had to leave Sir... (full context)
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Millamant, totally ignoring everything that Mrs. Fainall has just said, admits to Mrs. Fainall that she... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 8
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...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:... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 9
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...in the parlor. He has just made up with Wilfull and has come to tell Millamant that she must decide, right then, whether she will have him, Petulant, as a lover... (full context)
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Now it becomes clear that Wilfull and Petulant were arguing about Millamant. Petulant tells her that he was defending her beauty to Wilfull. But after Millamant refuses... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 10
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Wishfort joins Millamant, Mrs. Fainall, and Witwoud. She has dragged along a very drunk and, apparently, smelly Wilfull... (full context)
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Millamant is disgusted, and asks her aunt to be excused before she faints from Willful’s stench.... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 11
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...niece. She hopes that after he has been abroad he will prove more suitable to Millamant. (full context)
Act 4, Scene 15
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...Wishfort that she thought she saw Mirabell in the house this evening trying to find Millamant. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
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...crying Wishfort that he’ll have her fortune or get divorced. Mincing continues that Mirabell and Millamant have sent her to find Wilfull. She believes that Millamant will indeed marry Wilfull in... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 6
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...for health reasons. He will also gain his wife’s entire fortune and the entirety of Millamant’s, too, because Millamant has broken the terms set by Sir Jonathan Wishfort, Wishfort’s late husband,... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 7
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...noble Languish, her daughter’s late husband, a match that she herself made. Seeing her niece, Millamant, arriving with Wilfull, she is brought out of her reverie. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 8
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...cousin to please her and make amends. Wishfort is surprised by the apparent change in Millamant’s attitude toward Willful and asks her if she’s indeed willing to marry her cousin to... (full context)
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Millamant promises that she will marry Wilful and furthermore, that she has had no role in... (full context)
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Millamant warns her that if she refuses him entry that he might be inclined to insist... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 10
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...replies that even if she were ready to sign, she no longer needs to because Millamant has agreed to marry Wilfull, a move that legally prevents her from turning all her... (full context)
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...sword, to slice through Fainall’s contract if he does not revoke his demand. Wishfort and Millamant both tell Wilfull to calm down. Fainall tells Wishfort that it doesn’t matter if Millamant... (full context)
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...help her even as he laments the loss of the one reward that he desired, Millamant’s hand in marriage. Wishfort praises him for being so generous and promises to give him... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 14
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...awkward to break the news to her nephew, Wilfull, that he will not be marrying Millamant. (full context)
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...he only needs her consent to the marriage because Wilfull never actually intended on marrying Millamant but only said he did as a generous favor to his friend Mirabell. Wilfull reaffirms... (full context)
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Turning to the lovers, Wishfort blesses their engagement. Millamant complains good-naturedly about Mirabell not “taking” her. She asks him whether he wants her to... (full context)