The Way of the World

Mirabell & Mr. Fainall as the doubles (William Congreve’s The Way of the World

What are the similarities between these two characters?

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When you first look at these two characters they seen very similar, but that's really not the case. Yes, they're both witty, dashing, and extremely rakish. They're naughty boys, but only one of them is truly devious....... the other is exactly what he seems to be.

Unfortunately, unlike Mirabell, Fainall is looking for a marriage that will bring him money; he's a master manipulator, and he believes marriage should not be based on love but rather a "remedy" for love.

"...be half as well acquainted with her charms as you are with her defects, and my life on that, you are your own man again." (Page327)

He loves himself, and he loves his wife's money.

Mirabell is a true gentleman, inside and out, but it takes awhile for him to figure it out). Both men of course behave like gentleman outwardly, but only Mirabell is a true gentleman, and in the end we see his decency even if it isn't always obvious. Don't get me wrong, he, like Fainfall is also a manipulator; he's self-indulgent, he enjoys women (including Mrs Fainfall), but when he falls in love with Millamant...... he's a goner.