The Man of Mode

The Man of Mode Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Symbol: Harriet's hair

Harriet's wild hair symbolizes the wildness of her character and her association with nature.

Motif: Music and Dance

Throughout the play characters sing and dance. These actions are part of the elaborate societal rituals that determine taste and class. Music can also illuminate characters' true feelings, as is the case when Busy gently mocks Harriet by singing the song that expresses her interest in Dorimant.

Symbol: Mirror

The mirror that Fopling wishes to see in Dorimant's apartment is a symbol of his own vanity and self-interest.

Motif: Masks

Masks are frequently employed in the text: Belinda is first courted while wearing one; Fopling wears one; and Mrs. Loveit speaks of "unmasking" Harriet. Masks cover up one's features, as well as one's true feelings and motivations.

Symbol: The Orange-Woman

The orange-woman symbolizes nature, and by introducing Harriet into the play, she reinforces the fact that Harriet too is a symbol of nature (i.e., purity, authenticity, wildness, vivacity, lack of artifice).