Summary and Analysis: Act IV, scenes i – iii Summary and Analysis
Alone, in the dark, Belvile opens the Act by railing against his fate, which he assumes is to die without honor. Antonio enters with a light, a sword, and his arm in a sling. Antonio asks why Belvile keeps attacking him. Belvile explains that Willmore provoked both incidents, and Belvile merely came to his friend's aid. Antonio reveals that he is the Vice-Roy's son and gives Belvile the sword. Overwhelmed with gratitude at having escaped a life sentence or death for fighting such an eminent person, Belvile promises to do anything for Antonio.
Antonio asks Belvile to fight "a Rival" (Pedro, from Act II, scene i) for the hand of a woman, since Antonio has been injured and cannot. Furthermore, Antonio tells Belvile to fight dressed as, and in the name of, Antonio. Belvile thanks fortune for the opportunity to wound another rival for Florinda's hand.
Because Belvile has failed to appear at Florinda's window as instructed, the second Scene opens with Florinda expressing her panic and worry about his safety. It is dawn and the duel is about to begin. Stephano says he does not know who is to fight Pedro, and he slips away before Pedro can discover that Florinda is at the scene of the duel. The masked Pedro paces into sight, cursing Antonio's tardiness. Reassured that Belvile is not at risk, Florinda settles to watch the fight as Belvile enters disguised as Antonio.
Pedro calls out to Belvile, accusing him of taking Angelica. Confused, Belvile asks himself why they fight for a common whore and not Florinda but begins fighting anyway. Florinda rushes into the melee. They fight despite her, and Belvile disarms Pedro. Florinda intercedes and Belvile lays his sword at Florinda's feet. Pedro accepts "Antonio" as being in love with Florinda, and Belvile gives him his sword back, declaring he'll fight forever for Florinda. Pedro asks if Belvile will swear to love Florinda and no other, and Belvile agrees and demands marriage that very minute. Pedro agrees, partially to thwart his father, who will return that evening. Pedro tells Belvile to meet them at St. Peter's Church.
Because of Florinda's protests, Belvile pulls her aside and removes his mask, so that she may know who it is she has been engaged to. While she swoons in his arms, Frederick and Willmore enter, and Willmore runs to embrace Belvile. His mask drops, and Pedro sees him and takes Florinda from him. Cursing, Belvile asserts that he won the right to her. Willmore draws his sword to separate Florinda from Pedro, but Belvile swears at him to desist and not harm the brother of Florinda.
Pedro exits with Florinda, leaving Belvile and Willmore arguing. The uncomprehending Willmore asks what he has done wrong, and Belvile draws his sword and chases him offstage, but Frederick keeps Belvile from following. Angelica sees Willmore leaving and sends Sebastian after him.
Moretta chastises Angelica for giving Willmore money when he was just a common fool, and Angelica's jealous, angry state worsens. Willmore returns dressed in new, tailored clothing. Angelica declares she will revenge herself upon him. In response, Willmore tells her that brooding lovers are not really lovers at all. Angelica says she will take on the tasks of his new, virtuous mistress if it will bring him back to her. Astonished, Willmore asks what on earth he would do with a woman full of virtues. He calls virtue "an Infirmity in Women." Angelica changes her attack by accusing him of pursuing the 2,000 crowns in that Gypsy woman's purse, and Willmore tells himself that he knew she was of quality and longs to be with Hellena.
At that moment, Hellena enters, dressed as a man. She recognizes Angelica and Willmore and knows that Willmore has broken his vow but loves him the more for it. Meanwhile, Willmore tries to get Angelica to dismiss him, but she demands that he stay. Hellena intrudes, saying that she is the friend of a woman in love with a charming English gentleman. Afraid the young man (Hellena) is referring to...
(The entire section is 2,388 words.)