• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Way of 17th Century in the Way of the World

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Way of 17th Century Society in The Way of the World The Way of the World is a popular English play written by William Congreve in 17th century. Like most plays in the Restoration period, The Way of the World is regarded as a satire on the lives of the idle-classes in 1700s. Ironically, it has been reported that in his later life, Congreve, never been married, had good friendships with several actresses and noblewomen, especially, Henrietta Godolphin II, Duchess of Marlborough whom he had a daughter with.1 Apart from this considerable contrast, his work, the Way of the World reflects many aspects of aristocracy's society in 17th century, which worth discussing. Firstly, according to the conversation between Mirabell and Millamant, readers could obviously see how marriage customs and gender roles performed in the Restoration period. ...read more.

Middle

On the other hand, a man would marry to an obedient lady to pursue neither love nor happiness but a rising in social hierarchy and her dowry because every woman was considered, together with her properties, a possession of the husband. Secondly, social hierarchy is another point critiqued in the play. For instance, when Mirabell asked Millamant to marry him and she replied "O, I should think I was poor and had nothing to bestow...," these couple of lines, although Millamant finally agreed to marry Mirabell, state that marriage between a noble and a peasant was unacceptable because the difference of social class. In the Restoration period, the medieval sense of rank and degree was still persistent and even became more rigid. On one hand, aristocrats were on the top of social order and played a dominating role in the country. ...read more.

Conclusion

We could see in the play that the favorite activities of these "idle-creatures" were going out to the Hyde Park, the theater and the mask party. Moreover, in order to be attractive or to provoke people's attention in the party, the 17th century ladies would dress in fancy dresses and it was common for them to wear a body-lace. Since 16th century, tight-lacing was the popular fashion in an attempt to support body, enhance breasts and make the waist appears smaller than it was naturally.3 Fortunately, the fair Millamant considered this a fulsome behavior. In conclusion, due to the fact that Congreve encountered with many noble women in his later life; therefore, it is possible to say that although often regarded as a satire on the idle-class life, it is worth considering that the play itself might simply constructed from what it criticized. 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Congreve_(playwright) 2 http://www.socialpc.com/SocialIssues/Love-And-Marriage-In-The-18th-Century.html 3 http://www.history.org/history/teaching/enewsletter/volume6/may08/extreme_fashion.cfm ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Other Authors section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Other Authors essays

  1. How does Ayub Khan-Din portray conflict in the play East is East

    This debate on whether circumcision is right or wrong in the play tells us that there is a differencing opinion on the matter of religion even among the children. Regardless of George's attempts to teach the kids Urdu, none of the kids can speak it.

  2. How does Shaw draw the audience's attention to issues of social class in Act ...

    In my opinion, the Suffragettes were what inspired Shaw to write the play Pygmalion. Act II focuses on the difference between the working class and the upper class. This act introduces the idea of trying to change one's identity and also draws the audience's attentions to the types of beliefs

  1. The law is only a word for what has a right to happen.(TM) What ...

    What we also find out is that going against the law to uphold justice affects not only the person who does so but also to those around them. Throughout the play, the Carbone family changes from a loving family into one that is shattered by distrust, betrayal and violence.

  2. 20th Century Modern Play Coursework: Whose Life Is It Anyway?

    The characters all move around him whilst he remains totally static in the bed, showing us that he in unable and trapped in a world where life moves at top speed all around him. Because he is a quadriplegic, unable to do anything for himself, he seems to be trapped

  1. Examine how the aspects of good and evil are presented in the film 'Bram ...

    After an epic journey and the film going back and forth between Mina's diary and Jonathan's, Jonathan finally reaches Dracula's castle after being picked up by mysterious minion who is riding the carriage. When Jonathan reaches the castle the carriage goes through blue rings of fire going towards the sky.

  2. What different aspects of marriage are presented in Pride and Prejudice?

    However it was not all give but no get for men. Women did their bit for their husbands too. Even though rich men tended to commute often, women waited on them hand and foot to ensure they had a very comfortable existence.

  1. Pygmalion. Bernard Shaw was trying to show the people of the early twentieth century ...

    In Act 1 - pages 30 to 31 - Shaw describes what Eliza's room looked like - "A small room with very old wallpaper which was falling off" This showed that Eliza had neither the time nor the money to redecorate or tidy up her room so it looked a little more presentable.

  2. With reference to the way OCasey presents the members of the Boyle family in ...

    This is a hypocritical action, making it seem like she wants her family to earn money on her behalf. Mary is upwardly mobile, but too idealistic and naïve to escape her poverty. Contrastingly Johnny is unable to work and spends most of his time at home being terrified.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work