Love for Love



  • William Congreve's witty comedy of manners,first produced in London in 1695 with Thomas Betterton as Valentineand Anne Bracegirdle (Congreve's mistress) as Angelica. The criticPenelope Gilliatt has cited the play as a prime example of Congreve'sdepiction of sex as a form of currency "with every courtshipin the plot wooing an estate: love for loot."

    The young Valentine has wasted his fortune pursuing the beautifulbut reluctant heiress Angelica. When his father, the bluff Sir SampsonLegend, agrees to settle his debts if he will sign over his inheritanceto his brother Ben, a sailor, Valentine feigns madness to avoid signing.Angelica, who is not deceived, pretends to be in a love with Sir Sampsonin order to charm the bond from him. When Valentine says he will signthe document if that will make her happy, she realizes the depth ofhis affection and reveals her own love for him. Other characters includethe superstitious Foresight, the promiscuous Mrs Frail, and the feeble-mindedbeau Tattle.