Character Analysis Young Witwoud


Presumably young Witwoud came to London from the country recently to study law. He took to London life enthusiastically but not always wisely. He thinks of himself as a wit, but his judgment is not sound. He serves as a contrast to Mirabell; he is the false picture, the affectation of the Restoration ideal, which Mirabell represents.

Although somewhat forced, his lines are typical Restoration wit:

Fainall, how does your lady? . . . I beg pardon that I should ask a man of pleasure and the town a question at once so foreign and domestic. . . . A wit should no more be sincere than a woman constant; one argues a decay of parts, as to other of beauty.

He is thus characterized by Mirabell:

He is a fool with a good memory and some few scraps of other folks' wit. He is one whose conversation can never be approved: yet it is now and then to be endured.

He is also so anxious to appear to understand raillery that he does not realize that he is insulted. He courts Millamant only because she is the current belle; he actually dislikes her because she is so anxious to be a wit herself that she gives him no opportunity to demonstrate his own wittiness.

The most telling attack on him by Congreve is in the scene with Sir Wilfull, for no gentleman would refuse to recognize his own brother.

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