The intricate plot of William Congreve’s play is dominated by intrigue. Schemes, deceit, secrets, and manipulation abound as each person tries to get the best of the other one. Even those characters who seem genuinely interested in forming a relationship turn out to more concerned with their own selfish interests than with caring for the other person’s feelings. Single people try to form advantageous alliances, and married people cheat on their spouses. Even the apparent protagonist, Valentine, is not very appealing as his reckless behavior is one of his most prominent features. His intention to marry Angelica seems motivated by sexual desire and, perhaps even more, by the prospect of a fortune. Some of the intrigues emanate from Valentine’s double sided attempts to simultaneously attract his beloved and escape the clutches of those to whom he owes considerable gambling debts. Valentine’s friend, aptly named Scandal, is perhaps even more unscrupulous, though he does prove useful in helping his friend dream up more schemes by which to avoid total ruin.