In this play by William Congreve, there are numerous, overlapping intrigues involving couples who are trying to get together and/or fool their partners as they take up with other lovers. The central intrigue involves Valentine, a callous and irresponsible young man who is keen to marry Angelica. His tendency to gamble and carouse, however, makes him a less-than-ideal prospective husband in the eyes of the older generation, including his own father and Angelica’s uncle. Valentine’s efforts to evade his creditors, aided by his manservant Jeremy, lead him into a variety of scrapes and ruses, including pretending to be mad. Angelica, although charmed by Valentine, is more practical and hard-headed than her lover. Further complications arise as Scandal, Valentine’s best friend, joins in the plotting, helping him use the insanity ploy to avoid losing his fortune to his brother, Ben, which would have prevented his marriage to Angelica.