“Marriage, sir; the usual Reconciler at the End of a Comedy” is the finale of the political comedy rehearsed within Pasquin (1736), one of Fielding’s greatest box office hits as a dramatist (Plays III, III, 284). 1 The humour of the valedictory joke of this celebrated piece lies in the absurdity of closing a play about corrupt electioneering with the unexpected announcement of the impending nuptials of Miss Mayoress and Colonel Promise, characters that had hitherto not been presented as lovers. This played on the fact that, as I explain in more detail in Chapter 1, marriage endings were so ubiquitous in the early eighteenth-century English theatre that they amounted to a tacit rule for stage comedies. What Fielding satirized as a cliché in one of his last theatrical productions, however, was also the conclusion he used in all of his regular plays as well as in his novels. This book explores his fascination with marriage as a theme and the marriage plot as a convenient structure that, in his view, provided a logical diegetic closure and the best possible reward for good characters. It makes the case that Fielding adopted and adapted this convention from the early eighteenth-century stage and rendered it an integral part of his innovative mode of novel writing.