Study Guide

Moll Flanders Three-Act Plot Analysis

By Daniel Defoe

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Act I

Moll, the daughter of a criminal, starts off trying to lead an honest life. Her ambition soon gets the best of her, though, as she goes from one troubled relationship to another. Husband after husband either dies, or runs away, and she's left penniless and alone.

Act II

Faced with poverty, Moll moves lining up husband after husband to lining up patsy after patsy. No longer able to land a man, she opts to start stealing and performing cons. With each successful crime she pulls off, she becomes bolder and more confident, and therefore less likely to stop. But even the now notorious Moll can't escape the law.

Act III

Moll is arrested and imprisoned, and narrowly escapes a death sentence. She is sent to America with one of her old husbands, where they restore their fortunes and eventually return to England, rich and ready for a new life.