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The Way of the World (1700)

by William Congreve

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5281133,200 (3.3)16
Drama Classics: The World's Great Plays at a Great Little Price A classic comedy of manners from the Restoration period. Mirabell loves the heiress Millamant and must concoct a clever plan which allows him to marry her and keep her fortune despite the vengeful wrath of her aunt, Lady Wishfort. William Congreve's The Way of the World was first performed in March 1700 at the Theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields in London. This edition, in the Nick Hern Books Drama Classics series, is edited and introduced by Trevor Griffiths. The Way of the World is a set text for AQA A/AS Level English Literature and EdExcel A/AS Level English Literature.… (more)

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» See also 16 mentions

English (10)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (11)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
It was hard not to have at the back of my mind whilst watching this, the National Theatre's performance of The Beaux' Strategem by George Farquar. But how unfair. That vast auditorium at Southbank, the huge budget, a set that was enormous in all directions - how could a play reading with $20 of props and a notional idea of costume in a 200 seat theatre compare?

Being a reading, this production of The Way of the World at the Little Theatre at Adelaide Uni, was far more uncertain than a fullblown production would have been. The cast ranged from what felt like highly professional to young and inexperienced, with the unsurprising result that the roles of the latter did not engage as they presumably should have. Then there is the language, which is a challenge to the audience not because it is particularly difficult, but because we are used to Shakespearean language, whereas Restoration plays are rarely performed. We wondered if we enjoyed the second half more than the first because we were in the zone by then, we'd slipped into the idiom.

Rest here:

https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2018/03/18/the-way-of-the-world-by-w... ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
The Way of the World is generally thought to be one of the best Restoration comedies ever written. Written by British playwright William Congreve, it premiered in the year 1700 in London.

The play is the story of Mirabell and Millamant who wish to get married to each other. But Millamant's aunt, Lady Wishfort detests Mirabell. It is also the story of Fainall who is secretly having an affair with Mrs. Marwood. Mirabell's servant Waitwell is married to Foible, Lady Wishfort's servant. On Mirabell’s instructions, Waitwell pretends to be Sir Rowland and woos Lady Wishfort.

When I started to read this play I thought it would be a comedy about the difficulties of love and marriage, sprinkled with misunderstandings, mistaken identities and so forth. But as I read the play I found it to be kind of unusual for a comedy.

The play is full of discussions on various legal and monetary issues. Marriage and love seem more about material gain than anything else. A woman’s right to property, the husband’s rights to the wife’s property, the laws regarding to divorce, etc. occupies a large portion of the play’s narrative.

The tone of the play seemed kind of serious to me. For instance, the scene where Mirabell proposes to Millamant, although comic in nature, is a discussion about pre-nuptial agreements.

Even though The Way of the World is humorous and I did enjoy it, something is definitely amiss. ( )
  Porua | Apr 25, 2018 |
William Congreve: Way of the World
(as read in Everyman's 'Restauration Plays' (Ed. Gosse))
I read this because it was on my English literature reading list.

Why does it deserve 4 Stars?

Some scenes are incredibly well written, say the first Act, Fainall and Mirabell in the public house is really funny and psycologically well crafted; the figure of "my" Lady Wishfort is hilarious.

However, I found the play particularly interesting because there is something about it, that makes it utterly 'modern', something that makes Way of the World seem actually closer to Woody Allen and Hollywood romantic comedies than Shakespeare and Johnson and, I would say, even than to Molière's comedies.

So, 1. I found Way of the World honestly entertaining and 2. reading it helped me get a little closer to understanding what is 'modern' about 'modern' English literature. Whatever it is, it starts after Johnson and probably even after Dryden but seemingly before Congreve. Thank You for that Way of the World! Well deserved four stars. ( )
1 vote enfriedr | Sep 1, 2016 |
5
  kutheatre | Jun 4, 2015 |
Boring. Moliere can run circles around this guy. Even as a parody, the characters were uninteresting, unsympathetic and boring. So NOT funny. ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 23, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Congreveprimary authorall editionscalculated
Appelbaum, StanleyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gibbons, BrianEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lynch, Kathleen MarthaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Introduction:  The chief difficulty for readers of The Way of the World has always been the plot;  it is extremely complicated, and its ramifications are hard to follow in detail.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Drama Classics: The World's Great Plays at a Great Little Price A classic comedy of manners from the Restoration period. Mirabell loves the heiress Millamant and must concoct a clever plan which allows him to marry her and keep her fortune despite the vengeful wrath of her aunt, Lady Wishfort. William Congreve's The Way of the World was first performed in March 1700 at the Theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields in London. This edition, in the Nick Hern Books Drama Classics series, is edited and introduced by Trevor Griffiths. The Way of the World is a set text for AQA A/AS Level English Literature and EdExcel A/AS Level English Literature.

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