William CongreveWilliam Congreve was born in London in 1670 and was educated at Kilkenny School and at Trinity College. Among his best works there are his first comedies The Old Bachelor, the Double Dealer and his masterpiece the way of the World. All addressed to people of the upper classes, characterized by the influence of the Comedy of Manners, whose Congreve showed to be a sophisticated and good master.
“The way of the world” is to complex to be summarized in few words; Plot and subplots revolve round the two protagonists: Mirabell and Millamant. Mirabell was a young libertine gentleman and, Millamant is an heiress, who finally agrees to marry on the bases of mutual respect and his independence. In the plot there are besides, the parallel stories of two couples: over that of Mirabell and Millamant, there is that of Fainall and Mrs. Marwood. Congreve uses these two couples to compare and contrast different possible forms of human relationship.