School of Wives
The play is preceded by the dedication of Henrietta of England, the wife of the brother of the king, the official patron of the troupe.
The author’s foreword informs readers that the answers to the condemned play are contained in Critic (meaning the comedy in one act “Criticism of the School of Wives”, 1663).
Two old friends – Krisald and Arnolf – discuss the intention of the latter to marry. Kriszal recalls that Arnolf always laughed at the hapless husbands, assuring that the horns are the lot of every husband: “… no one, great or small, did not know your critique of salvation.” Therefore, any hint of loyalty to the future wife of Arnolf will cause a hail of ridicule. Arnolf assures the friend
Arnolf got into his house with great difficulty, since the servants – Georgette and Alain – did not unlock for a long time, only succumbed to threats and did not speak very respectfully to the gentleman, very vaguely explaining the reason for their slowness. Agnes comes with work in hand. Her look touches Arnolf, as “loving me, praying, spinning and sewing” is the ideal of the wife that he told his friend about. He promises Agnes to talk in an hour about important things and sends her home.
Left alone, he continues to admire his successful choice and the superiority of innocence over all other female virtues. His thoughts are interrupted by a young man named Horace, the son of his long-standing friend Orant. The young man reports that in the near future Enrique will come from America, who together with Father Oras intends to implement an important plan about which so far nothing is known. Horas decides to borrow money from an old friend of the family, since he was carried away by a girl living nearby, and he would like to “finish the adventure sooner rather adventure.” At the same time he, to Arnolf’s horror, pointed to the house in which Agnes lives, protecting him from bad influence, the newly-born LaSush settled separately. Horas without secretion told the family friend about his feelings, quite mutual, to the charming and modest beauty Agnese,
Arnolf hurries home, deciding to himself that the girl will never give in to the young bridegroom and will be able to take advantage of the fact that Horace does not know his new name and therefore easily trusts his heartfelt mystery to a man whom he has not seen for a long time. The behavior of the servants becomes clear to Arnolf, and he forces Alain and Georgette to tell the truth about what happened in the house in his absence. Arnolf, in anticipation of Agnes, tries to pull himself together and temper his anger, remembering the ancient sages. Appeared Agnesa does not immediately understand what her guardian wants to know, and she describes all her activities in the last ten days: “I sewed six shirts and caps full.” Arnolf decides to ask directly – was there a man without him in the house and did the girl talk with him? The recognition of the girl astonished Arnolf, but he consoled himself with that, that the sincerity of Agnes reflects her innocence. And the story of the girl confirmed his simplicity. It turns out that while practicing sewing on the balcony, the young beauty noticed a young gentleman who kindly bowed to her. She had to politely respond to courtesy, the young man bowed once more and so, bowing to each other all the way down, they spent time until the very darkness.
The next day an old woman came to Agnese with the news that the young woman had caused a terrible evil – she caused a deep heart wound to that young man with whom she had bowed yesterday. The girl had to accept a young gentleman, since she did not dare to leave him without help. Arnolf wants to learn everything in more detail, and he asks the girl to continue the story, although internally she shudders with fear to hear something terrible. Agnese admits that the young man whispered her declarations of love, kissed her hands tirelessly and even (here Arnolf nearly became insane) took a ribbon from her. Agnes admitted that “something sweet tickles, it touches, I do not know myself, but my heart is melting.” Arnolf convinces the naive girl that everything that has happened is a terrible sin. There is only one way to fix what happened: ” One marriage takes off the wine. “Agnes is happy, since she believes that it is a wedding with Oras.” Arnolf also has in mind himself as a husband and therefore assures Agnes that the marriage will be concluded “this very day.” The misunderstanding still it turns out that Arnolf forbids Agnese to see Oras and tells him not to let him in under any circumstances, moreover, he reminds him that he has the right to demand complete obedience from the girl, and then he asks the poor girl to get acquainted with the “Rules of Matrimony, or the duties of a married woman together her everyday exercise “, since” our happiness have you, my friend, and the will to curb and reduce leisure. “He makes a girl to read the rules aloud,
Horace appears, and Arnolf decides to find out from him the further details of the adventure that has just begun. The young man is saddened by unexpected complications. It turns out, he tells Arnolf, the guardian returned, somehow mysteriously learned about the ardent love of his ward and Horace. The servants, who had previously helped in their love, suddenly behaved rudely and closed the door in front of the discouraged admirer. The girl also behaved sternly, so the unfortunate young man realized that the guardian is behind everything and directs the acts of the servants and, most importantly, Agnes. Arnolf listened with pleasure to Horace, but it turned out that the innocent girl showed herself to be very inventive. She really threw a stone from the balcony to her admirer, but along with the stone, and a letter that jealous Arnolf, watching the girl, just did not notice. But he has to laugh cohesively with Oras. Even worse, he had to, when Horace begins to read the letter of Agnes and it becomes clear that the girl is fully aware of her ignorance, endlessly believes in her lover and parting for her will be awful. Arnolf is shocked to the core, having learned that all his “works and kindness are forgotten.”
Still, he does not want to give the lovely girl to a young rival and invites a notary. However, his frustrated feelings do not allow you to properly agree on the terms of the marriage contract. He prefers to talk with the servants once more to protect himself from Horace’s unexpected visit. But Arnolf was again unlucky. A young man appears and tells that he again met with Agnes in her room, and how he had to hide in the closet, because her guardian (Arnolf) came to Agnese. Horace again could not see the rival, but only heard his voice, so he continues to regard Arnolf as his confidant. As soon as the young man left, Krisald appears and again tries to convince his friend of an unreasonable attitude toward marriage. After all, jealousy can prevent Arnolfa from soberly assessing family relations – otherwise “the horns are already almost worn On those,
Arnolf goes to his house and again warns servants to guard Agnes better and not let Horas come to her. But the unforeseen happens: the servants tried so hard to fulfill the order that they killed the young man and now he lies lifeless. Arnolf is terrified of having to talk to the boy’s father and his close friend Orontes. But, consumed by bitter feelings, he suddenly notices Horace, who told him the following. He arranged a meeting with Agnes, but the servants attacked him and, knocking him to the ground, started beating him so that he lost his senses. The servants took him for a dead man and began to wail, and Agnes, hearing cries, immediately rushed to her lover. Now Oras needs to leave the girl for a while in a safe place, and he asks Arnolf to take Agnes to his care, until you can persuade the father of the young man to agree with the choice of his son. The delighted Arnolf hurries to take the girl to her house, and Horas involuntarily helps him, persuading his beautiful friend to follow his friend’s family in order to avoid publicity.
Оставшись наедине с Арнольфом, Агнеса узнает своего опекуна, но держится твердо, признавшись не только в любви к Орасу, но и в том, что “я не дитя давно, и для меня – позор, Что я простушкою слыла до этих пор”. Арнольф тщетно пытается убедить Агнесу в своем праве на нее – девушка остается неумолимой, и, пригрозив отправить ее в монастырь, опекун уходит. Он вновь встречается с Орасом, который делится с ним неприятным известием: Энрик, вернувшись из Америки с большим состоянием, хочет выдать свою дочь за сына своего друга Оронта. Орас надеется, что Арнольф уговорит отца отказаться от свадьбы и тем самым поможет Орасу соединиться с Агнесой. К ним присоединяются Кризальд, Энрик и Оронт. К удивлению Ораса, Арнольф не только не выполняет его просьбу, но советует Оронту поскорее женить сына, не считаясь с его желаниями. Орант рад, что Арнольф поддерживает его намерения, но Кризальд обращает внимание на то, что Арнольфа следует называть именем Ла Суш. Только теперь Орас понимает, что его “наперсником” был соперник. Арнольф приказывает слугам привести Агнесу. Дело принимает неожиданный оборот.
Krisald recognizes in the girl the daughter of her late sister Angelica from a secret marriage with Enrique. To conceal the birth of a girl, she was given to a peasant woman for education in the village. Enrique, forced to seek happiness in a foreign land, left. A peasant woman, deprived of help, gave the girl to Arnolf for education. The unfortunate guardian, unable to say a word, leaves.
Horace promises to explain to everyone the reason for his refusal to marry Enric’s daughter, and forgetting about Arnolf, old friends and young people enter the house and “we’ll discuss everything in detail.”