BOOKS/FILMS/AUTHORS--USEM4--1999

School for Wives by Moliere

School for Wives . . . . seems to be a perfect summary for life. Life never seems to go as planned.

I learned a lot from reading this play. I had no idea that Moliere was so delightful.

I didn't really learn from the reading so much as receive reassurance of a few things that I already suspected. One should definitely never underestimate women . . .

Arnolphe . . . not only lives in fear of how he is viewed by others, but also arranges his life so as to avoid being mocked by society.

I wondered if Arnolphe ever realized what it meant to be in love. If he truly did love Agnes, would he not realize that to love someone and to then deliberately make that person unhappy is not really love?

Arnolphe was the spitting image of selfishness. I could never respect someone who was capable of what Arnolphe was. . . . I saw through his character immediately as being the biggest fake and the most self-centered person I have come to study in literature.

Writing an entire play in rhyme is extremely difficult, and as I read School for Wives, I found myself marveling at how fluid the translation was.

Even if she had never met Horace I think that Agnes would never have loved Arnolphe. But I wonder if she hadn't known Horace, would she have actually married Arnolphe and been the ignorant servant of a wife that Arnolphe was looking for?

Moliere's School for Wives is a comedy that brings out the extreme characteristics of people for two primary reasons: first, to entertain, and second, to educate. Moliere does these things magnificently--he keeps the story funny with the absurd situations as well as instructs the audience through the use of extremely one-sided characters.

School for Wives and The Simpsons are very similar in their comedic methods. Both take seemingly average characters (e.g. an overweight, balding head of household, an incompetent police chief, less than intelligent stock characters, or an arrogant bourgeois businessman) and exaggerate their characteristics, making them, as I like to call it, "average to the extreme." The main difference, as we said in class, was the presence of a normal, rational person in School for Wives. Chrysalde, who was my favorite character from the beginning, provided a clever, sarcastic outlet for the voice of reason, an outlet which The Simpsons seems to lack. School for Wives lays out the moral guidelines for us to follow, while The Simpsons relies on us to interpret Matt Groenig's messages.

The seemingly backward role of education [in this play] does make one question our definitions of who is an educated person.

This play is somehow linked to the sociological concept of nature vs. nurture. If Agnes was in solitude for the majority of the period of her socialization, how was she able to grow into such a witty and observant individual?