The Way of the World Summary & Study Guide

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In ancient Greek tragedy, a prologue conventionally set forth the subject of the drama to be enacted. It still refers to the introductory material of a play that serves as a sketch of the characters or themes to appear. It also can be an explanatory speech given by one of the characters, which is the case here. Spoken by "Mr. Betterton," the actor who played the role of Fainall in 1700, the Prologue takes the form of rhyming couplets in iambic pentameter meter. Congreve adapts the classic "heroic" verse both to establish this play as a serious dramatic offering but also to add to the comic effect. The Prologue also acts as both a tongue-in-cheek apology (in advance) and a taunt or challenge to the audience to find fault.

The speech begins with a comparison between "natural" fools and fools of "fortune." Those fools, who presume themselves poets...

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This section contains 5,202 words
(approx. 14 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Way of the World Study Guide
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Drama for Students
The Way of the World from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.