Several aspects of the play give rise to critical discussion:
- The love expressed in the play tends to be centred on material gain rather than the love of the partner. This can be seen in the scene where Millamant and Mirabell effectively carry out a pre-nuptial agreement, Millamant insisting on having all manner of liberties and powers, quite unusual for the time.
- None of the characters in the play can really be seen as 'good', and as such it is difficult to find a hero or heroine, or indeed anybody whom one would find deserving of sympathy.
- Although often regarded as a satire on the lives of the idle-classes in 1700, it is worth considering that the play itself might simply be constructed from this.