Congreves Comedy of Manners: A Play in Five Acts

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The Restoration period was an age of loose morals and, and was devoid of moral values.

Congreve's Comedy of Manners

The Way of the World contains this current through the illicit love and adulterous relations — e. Marwood, between Mirabell, the hero, and Mrs. Mirabell married Mrs. Fainall off to Fainal, being afraid of her being pregnant. Marwood having been exposed, Fainall faces the situation fearlessly and shamelessly:. Even Mrs.

William Congreve

Marwood and Lady Wishfort secretly loved Mirabell. Unhappy conjugal life can be treated as another characteristic of the time which is expressed through the relation between Mr. One of them feels uneasy in the presence of another. The Way of The World also exposes the worldliness and greed of the young men of the time. Mercenary motives led them to seek rich heiresses in marriage Mr. Fainall marries Mrs.

Fainall, a widow, for her property. Mirabell does not want to marry Millament without her property.

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This mercenary tendency led them to intrigue which was the order of the day in social and domestic life. Mirabell, in order to obtain Milament with her whole legacy, pretends to woo Lady Wishfort. By this intrigue, Mirabell makes Lady Wishfort agree —. And surrender[s] the moiety of her fortune in her possession. Even Sir Wilfull, an exception to other characters of the play, joins the web of intrigues in the play.

Moreover, Fainall makes the legacy-conflict deeper through his cruel condition to Lady Wishfort. In The Way of The World , we are acquainted with the vanities, affectations and fashions of the time. Article Media.

Comedy of Manners - Drama Online

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Read More on This Topic. Types and groups, rather than politics and the politician or any nameable individuals, are the concern of the comedian of manners. He may…. Start your free trial today for unlimited access to Britannica. After the Glorious Revolution of Congreve and his family returned to the family home in Staffordshire, where he seems to have remained for 2 years.

It is most probable that it was here that he wrote his first play, The Old Bachelor, "to amuse himself in a slow recovery from a fit of sickness. Within a year he had made the friendship of John Dryden, the former poet laureate. In the two collaborated on a translation of the satires of Juvenal and Persius.

That year he also contributed some verses to Charles Gildon's Miscellany. In The Old Bachelor, which had been revised by Dryden, was produced at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane with the best actors and actresses of the time taking part in it—including Betterton, Mrs. Barry, and Mrs. Bracegirdle, who was to have the leading role in all of Congreve's plays. The play was a great success and ran for the unprecedented length of a fortnight.

Congreve was so encouraged by its reception that he hastened to put forth a second play, The Double Dealer, before the end of the year. This play was more complex and better structured than the first, but it was not nearly so well received. While Congreve was writing his third comedy, Love for Love, Betterton and other leading actors rebelled against the management of the Theatre Royal, the only theater in London at the time.


They were given permission to build a new theater at Lincoln's Inn Fields, which opened with the production of Love for Love in the spring of Probably Congreve's best acting play, it met with immediate success and placed him among the leading dramatists of the day. He became one of the managers of the new theater and agreed to give the new company a play a year.

At this time he also began to write public occasional verse. Congreve was unable to produce a play a year as promised, but early in he gave the company the tragedy The Mourning Bride.

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It met with instantaneous success and was the most popular English tragedy for almost a century. The following year he launched an unsuccessful counterattack on Collier's charges against the stage. But by the taste in comedy had so changed that his next play, The Way of the World, failed miserably, and he determined to leave the stage. Although Congreve associated briefly with Sir John Vanbrugh at the Queen's Theatre and wrote librettos for two operas The Judgment of Paris and Semele , he spent the rest of his life at leisure.

In he was appointed commissioner for wines and retained this post until , when he received a more lucrative appointment as secretary of Jamaica.