Study Guide

Joseph Andrews Three-Act Plot Analysis

By Henry Fielding

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Act I

Joseph leaves his cushy job as a footman when Lady Booby gets a little too amorous toward him. He journeys to the Booby country estate to find his sweetheart, Fanny, but the road is paved with ruffians and other obstacles. Parson Adams runs into Joseph after his first day on the road and joins him as they encounter grumpy innkeeper after grumpy innkeeper. The pair separates briefly when Parson Adams forgets he has a horse.

Act II

As Parson Adams is walking along and minding his own bees' wax, he runs into Fanny Goodwill being attacked by a random stranger. Yes, that would be Joseph's sweetheart Fanny. Without knowing who she is, Adams defends her and plans to accompany her back to see Joseph. But the villain who attacks Fanny frames the pair, saying they're thieves, and the two are hauled before the lazy Justice of the Peace to answer for their fake crimes. After Adams and Fanny are cleared, Joseph and Fanny have a tearful reunion. They stay at the charming Mr. Wilson's house and hear the story about Wilson's long-lost son as they make their way to the country.

Act III

A dastardly squire kidnaps Fanny with the intention of ravishing her, but Peter Pounce comes to her rescue. When the group finally makes it to the Booby's countryseat, Lady Booby is waiting with every intention to foil Joseph and Fanny's marriage. The lawyer Scout is totally willing to help her, and even Pamela and Mr. Booby aren't particularly thrilled about the match. But when the peddler reveals Joseph's true parentage, no one can help but approve.

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