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MonkeyNotes-The Way of the World by William Congreve
Table of Contents


Major Characters


The protagonist, who is madly in love with Millamant. He
appears to represent the typical beau of Restoration drama, but
as the action progresses, Mirabell reveals his individual
qualities. He controls the action of the play throughout and
finally gains Millamant, along with her fortune and the approval
of Lady Wishfort.


The lively and beautiful heroine who is in love with Mirabell.
She is Lady Wishfortís ward and the first cousin of Mrs. Fainall.
She seems to be the typical Restoration coquette, pursued by
scores of admirers. She is distinguished from other Restoration
heroines by her sparkling wit and an essentially serious attitude
towards life, love, and marriage. If she marries against the
wishes of her aunt, Lady Wishfort, she will lose half her


Fainall is married to Lady Wishfortís daughter. During the
course of the play, he admits that he married his wife only for
her money. He has an extramarital affair with Mrs. Marwood,
and together they perform the role of villains in the play.

Mrs. Fainall (formerly, Arabella Languish)

She is Lady Wishfortís daughter. She has been Mirabellís
mistress in the past. As a wealthy young widow, she married
Fainall only to provide a cover for her affair with Mirabell. She
benevolently aids Mirabell in his secret scheme to win
Millamant even though she still loves him.

Mrs. Marwood

She is Fainallís mistress. Along with Fainall, she performs the
role of the antagonist. Mrs. Marwood reveals to Lady Wishfort
that Mirabellís love for her is only a cover for his real love for
Millamant. Mrs. Marwood again thwarts Mirabellís plot by
revealing the true identity of "Sir Rowland" through an
anonymous letter. Her secret affair with Fainall is revealed by
Foible and Mincing in the concluding act of the play.

Lady Wishfort

She is a fifty-five year-old widow who desperately wants
another husband. She is Mrs. Fainallís mother and Millamantís
aunt. She detests Mirabell because he pretended to love her,
while all the time he wanted to win Millamant. She seems to be
afraid of her advancing age and pathetically tries to retain the
lost beauty of her youth. She controls Millamantís fortune and
potential for happiness.

Table of Contents
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MonkeyNotes-The Way of the World by William Congreve

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