How is Love for Love a comedy of intrigue?

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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.

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How is Love for Love a comedy of intrigue?

William Congreve’s Love for Love is a comedy of intrigue because the focus is on the complexity of the plot, rather than on the characterization. The play is filled with dramatic, absurd situations; intrigues; elaborate schemes; secrets; and passionate love affairs.

For example, the protagonist, Valentine, who is used to a life of privilege and luxury, is forced by his father to sign over his inheritance to his younger brother, Ben, in order to pay off his numerous debts. In exchange, he's promised four thousand pounds. However, he doesn't want to lose his inheritance, and so he tries to manipulate the situation to his own benefit in various ways, albeit unsuccessfully.

The cunning and wealthy Angelica, who is in love with Valentine, wants to see if Valentine truly loves her as much as he claims that he does, so she decides to play around with his heart, seemingly for fun. She pretends that she likes Sir Sampson, Valentine's father, and even agrees to "marry him."

Then we have Sir Sampson and Mr. Foresight, who are way too happy about the arranged marriage between their children Ben and Prue, mainly because they'll combine their wealth; the far from frail Mistress Frail, who becomes "romantically" interested in Ben only after she finds out that he will inherit his father's wealth; and the vain "womanizer" Tattle, who falls in love with Prue but accidentally ends up marrying Mistress Frail instead.

All of the situations directly or indirectly created by these characters only further strengthen the fact that Love for Love is indeed a comedy of intrigue.

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