Mirabell, once a womanizer, seeks to marry a girl he loves, Ms. Millamant. Unfortunately, her aunt, Lady Wishfort, holds power over her 6,000 pound inheritance and despises Mirabell because he once pretended to love her. Mirabell and Ms. Millamant devise a plot in which his servant, Waitworth, will marry Lady Wishfort's servant, Foible, and then woo Lady Wishfort in disguise as Mirabell's uncle, Sir Rowland. The scheme proceeds as planned until Ms. Marwood, who unrequitedly desires Mirabell, overhears the plot when Foible fills in Lady Wishfort's daughter, Mrs. Fainall. Ms. Marwood tells the man to whom she is mistress, Mr. Fainall, about the scheme and the fact that Mirabell was also once romantically involved with his wife, Mrs. Fainall. Incensed by this situation, the two plan to foil Mirabell's scheme. Sir Wilfull, a nephew of Lady Wishfort's, comes to town before departing to go abroad, and Lady Wishfort desires for him, though a bumbling man, to marry Ms. Millamant. The situation comes to a head when Lady Wishfort, while visiting with "Sir Rowland," receives a letter from Ms. Marwood revealing Mirabell's scheme. Fainall attempts to use Lady Wishfort and her daughter's precarious social situation as leverage to gain Ms. Millamant's inheritance and all of Lady Wishfort's money through control of his wife's inheritance. However, he is foiled by Ms. Millamant announcing she will marry Sir Wilfull and Mirabell announcing that he has had claim to Mrs. Fainall's inheritance since before her marriage to Fainall. Once Fainall and Ms. Marwood leave, Ms. Millamant rescinds her offer to Sir Wilfull and she and Mirabell receive Lady Wishfort's blessing for marriage, her reputation having been saved by the two lovers.