Love for Love

Love for Love is a Restoration comedy written by British playwright William Congreve. It premiered on 30 April 1695 at Betterton's Co., Lincoln's Inn Fields.[1]

Joshua Reynolds' Mrs. Abington as Miss Prue in "Love for Love" by William Congreve (1771)


The play is a comical farce enlivened by its witty dialogue and its humorous characters, and perhaps more successful in its day than The Way of the World, now considered Congreve's best. The main character is Valentine, then Jeremy, Valentine's resourceful servant; Sir Sampson, with his 'blunt vivacity'; Ben, the rough young sea-dog, who intends to marry whom he chooses; Miss Prue, only too ready to learn the lessons in love given her by Tattle, the vain, half-witted beau, who finds himself married to Mrs. Frail, the lady of easy virtue, when he thinks he has captured Angelica; and Foresight, the gullible old astrologer.[2]

Dramatis PersonaeEdit

  • Sir Sampson Legend, father to Valentine and Ben
  • Valentine, fallen under his father's displeasure by his expensive way of living, in love with Angelica
  • Scandal, his friend, a free speaker
  • Tattle, a half-witted beau, vain of his amours, yet valuing himself for secrecy
  • Ben, Sir Sampson's younger son, half home-bred and half sea-bred, designed to marry Miss Prue
  • Foresight, an illiterate old fellow, peevish and positive, superstitious, and pretending to understand astrology, palmistry, physiognomy, omens, dreams, etc., uncle to Angelica
  • Jeremy, servant to Valentine
  • Trapland, a scrivener
  • Buckram, a lawyer
  • Angelica, niece to Foresight, of a considerable fortune in her own hands
  • Mrs. Foresight, second wife to Foresight
  • Mrs. Frail, sister to Mrs. Foresight, a woman of the town
  • Miss Prue, daughter to Foresight by a former wife, a silly, awkward country girl
  • Nurse, to Miss Prue
  • Jenny, maid to Angelica
  • A Steward, Officers, Sailors, and several servants


Valentine has fallen under the displeasure of his father by his extravagance, and is besieged by creditors. His father, Sir Sampson Legend, offers him £4000 (only enough to pay his debts) if he will sign a bond engaging to make over his right to his inheritance to his younger brother Ben. Valentine, to escape from his embarrassment, signs the bond. He is in love with Angelica, who possesses a fortune of her own, but so far she has not yielded to his suit. Sir Sampson has arranged a match between Ben, who is at sea, and Miss Prue, an awkward country girl, the daughter of Foresight, a superstitious old fool who claims to be an astrologer. Valentine, realizing the ruin entailed by the signature of the bond, tries to move his father by submission, and fails; then pretends to be mad and unable to sign the final deed of conveyance to his brother. Finally Angelica intervenes. She induces Sir Sampson to propose marriage to her, pretends to accept, and gets possession of Valentine's bond. When Valentine, in despair at finding that Angelica is about to marry his father, declares himself ready to sign the conveyance, she reveals the plot, tears up the bond, and declares her love for Valentine.[3]


  1. ^ Information sheet on Love for Love[permanent dead link].Accessed 21 January 2012
  2. ^ A. G. Henderson, The Comedies of William Congreve, Cambridge University Press (1982).
  3. ^ G. Salgado, Three Restoration Comedies: The Man of Mode, The Country Wife, Love for love, Penguin Classics (2005), s.v. "Love for Love".
  • Congreve, William (2000). Love for Love. London, England: A & C Black Limited.
  • Salgado, Gamini Three Restoration Comedies: The Man of Mode, The Country Wife, Love for love, Penguin Classics (2005).
  • Erskine-Hill, H., Lindsay, A. (eds), William Congreve: The Critical Heritage, Routledge (1995).

External linksEdit