Segments in this Video

School for Wives: Arnolphe's Irrational Fear of Cuckoldry (04:27)


Act I, Scene 1. Setting: A town square. Arnolphe admits to his friend that he is fearful of being cuckolded. Arnolphe exclaims about the foolishness and cunning of women. Men cannot trust women.

School for Wives: Arnolphe Wants an Innocent Wife (03:58)

Act I, Scene 1. Setting: A town square. Chysalde criticizes Arnolphe for wanting a wife who is stupid and innocent. What would a stupid wife know about virtue?

School for Wives: Arnolphe's Admissions about Agnes (03:33)

Act I, Scene 1. Setting: A town square. Arnolphe admits he has loved Agnes since she was four and has sent her to a convent to maintain her innocence. He asks Chysalde to have dinner with her and then come back with his opinion of her.

School for Wives: Arnolphe's New Name (03:20)

Act I, Scene 1. Setting: A town square. Arnolphe insists upon being called M. de la Souche. Chysalde admits he has a hard time remembering that. Chysalde thinks Arnolphe is a bit of a fool.

School for Wives: Arnolphe Returns Home (03:18)

Act I, Scene 2. Setting: Arnolphe's home. In this comic scene, Arnolphe returns to find his servants arguing about who will open the door. Arnolphe asks if Agnes has missed him for the past ten days.

School for Wives: Arnolphe Greets Agnes (01:43)

Act I, Scene 3. Setting: Arnolphe's home. Arnolphe asks Agnes if all is well. She complains about the fleas in her bed and tells him she has sewn nightcaps and gowns for him.

School for Wives: Arnolphe and Horace Meet (03:02)

Act I, Scene 4. Setting: Outside Agnes's house. Horace and Arnolphe exchange pleasantries and then discuss their fathers, who plan to journey together.

School for Wives: Horace Admits He Loves Agnes (02:31)

Act I, Scene 4. Setting: Outside Agnes's house. Arnolphe encourages Horace to enjoy the women of the town, and says he is born to be a cuckold. Horace confides to Arnolphe that he loves Agnes. Arnolphe is bursting with rage at this news.

School for Wives: Horace Is Ignorant of Arnolphe's Identity (03:51)

Act I, Scene 4. Setting: Outside Agnes's house. Horace does not know that Arnolphe has chosen Agnes for his wife. Horace mocks the man that he has heard is in love with Agnes. Arnolphe agonizes over lending money to Horace in order for him to woo Agnes.

School for Wives: Arnolphe Fears Horace and Agnes May Be in Love (00:58)

Act II, Scene 1. Arnolphe is alone on the stage. He is determined to stop Horace from pursuing Agnes, whom he already considers his own wife. He fears that he will be shamed if the two lovers have made too much progress in their illicit romance while Arnolphe was away.

School for Wives: Arnolphe Asks About Agnes's Behavior (03:39)

Act II, Scene 2. Arnolphe questions Alain and Georgette about the man who has come between him and Agnes. They are not forthcoming, and Arnolphe is doubly miserable.

School for Wives: Arnolphe's Jealousy (02:22)

Act II, Scene 3. Alain and Georgette discuss Arnolphe's jealousy. When Georgette asks why Arnolphe is jealous, Alain describes it this way: "Because every one has not the greedy love which will give nothing away."

School for Wives: Arnolphe Tries to Remain Calm (01:03)

Act II, Scene 4. Setting: In front of Agnes's house. Arnolphe talks to himself reassuredly about how calm is he. He proposes to speak gently to Agnes in order to get the truth from her.

School for Wives: Agnes Had a Male Visitor (03:22)

Act II, Scene 5. In an attempt to trick her into revealing why a man had visited her in his absence, Arnolphe says the neighbors gossiped about a male visitor. Innocently, Agnes describes a man who walked by many times, and each time he passed, she curtsied to him.

School for Wives: Innocence of Agnes/Suspicions of Arnolphe (03:13)

Act II, Scene 5. Agnes's story about the lovely young man who became miserable without her love nearly destroys him. Yet, he believes she did it all out of her innocence. He asks her what they did when she and the young man were alone.

School for Wives: Agnes Has Feelings for the Stranger (03:06)

Act II, Scene 5. Agnes tells Arnolphe that the young man professed love for her, and kissed her hands and arms. Arnolphe is nearly mad with jealousy. Agnes admits she did not know there were such feelings between a man and a woman.

School for Wives: Who Will Agnes Marry? (03:16)

Act II, Scene 5. Agnes's passions are stirred up. Arnolphe tells her that only married people may act on those feelings. She believes she is going to marry her handsome young man. Arnolphe is angry and tells her that she must obey him.

School for Wives: Arnolphe Has a Plan to Marry Agnes (02:06)

Act III, Scene 1. Arnolphe is convinced he and Agnes can marry, as she has maintained her virtue. Georgette and Alain tell him that the young man gave them two gold crowns. Arnolphe tells them to get a certain document.

School for Wives: Arnolphe Delivers Instructions to Agnes (03:31)

Act III, Scene 2. Arnolphe tells Agnes that she must listen well. They are to be married and she should understand the great honor he gives her. She must obey like a soldier obeys his superior. He is supreme; she is subordinate.

School for Wives: (02:31)

Act III, Scene 2. Continuing his instruction to Agnes, Arnolphe warns that she will burn in Hell is she becomes like other town flirts. She holds his honor in her hands. He asks her to read from a document he provides.

School for Wives: Maxims of Marriage (03:41)

Act III, Scene 2. Agnes reads the maxims of marriage. They are designed to keep women away from intellectual and social activities. She is forbidden to be seen in public. Arnolphe tells her to stop reading once she has read ten of them.

School for Wives: Arnolphe Believes Women Should be Innocent and Stupid (02:40)

Act III, Scene 3. Arnolphe explains the value of a simple wife. She is easy to control. Women with wills of their own are impossible to control and therefore, should be avoided. Women, he asserts, are easy prey for Satan.

School for Wives: Agnes Writes Horace a Note (04:31)

Act III, Scene 4. Horace unwittingly supplies the details of his romance with Agnes, Arnolphe's intended bride. Agnes, pretending to throw a stone at Horace, attached a note to it for Horace. Arnolphe continues to urge Horace to tell details.

School for Wives: Horace Puts False Trust in Arnolphe (03:26)

Act III, Scene 4. Horace is convinced that Agnes's intended husband is behind her rejection. He reads Agnes's letter to Arnolphe. Arnolphe regrets that Agnes ever learned to write.

School for Wives: Horace Asks Arnolphe for Help in Reaching Agnes (01:46)

Act III, Scene 4. Horace confides to Arnolphe that it would be a crime to keep such a tender spirit as Agnes in ignorance. He begs Arnolphe to help him get past Georgette and Alain so he can get access to Agnes. Arnolphe leaves without helping him.

School for Wives: Arnolphe's Self-Assuredness and Fear (03:08)

Act III, Scene 5. Arnolphe is in anguish that Agnes has been fooled into loving someone else. He had been prudent and very philosophical in his choice of Agnes for his bride. He prays that he will not be dishonored, or if he is, he prays that he can bear it.

School for Wives: Arnolphe Agitated and in Love (02:24)

Act IV, Scene 1. Arnolphe cannot get his mind to rest. His ardent feelings for Agnes distress him. Though she is breaking his heart, he asserts that she never looks lovelier than when she is doing it. He determines to outwit Horace.

School for Wives: Arrival of the Notary (02:53)

Act IV, Scenes 2 and 3. Thinking he is alone, Arnolphe talks out loud to himself. The notary thinks Arnolphe is talking to him. When Arnolphe sees the notary, he dismisses him. The notary thinks Arnolphe is mad.

School for Wives: (03:23)

Act IV, Scenes 4 and 5. Arnolphe "trains" Alain and Georgette to reject any advances, bribes, or requests that may come from Horace as he tries to get to Agnes. Arnolphe will enlist the cobbler's help in spying on Agnes.

School for Wives: Horace Reveals His Plan to Meet with Agnes at Night (02:41)

Act IV, Scene 6. Horace, still unaware that Arnolphe is Agnes's husband-to-be, tells him about their plans to meet tonight. Agnes will open a window and allow him to come in.

School for Wives: (02:35)

Act IV, Scene 7. Realizing that his worst fears are coming to be, Arnolphe bemoans that he will become the "dupe of a simple girl and a scatter-brained young fellow." After twenty years of planning, he knows he might still be cuckolded.

School for Wives: Chrysalde Confronts Arnolphe on the Subject of Cuckoldry (04:08)

Act IV, Scene 8. Chysalde confronts Arnolphe about his constant fear of being cuckolded. Chysalde tells him that such things can come about by accident or chance. He suggests that Arnolphe focus on handing such a situation with grace.

School for Wives: Arnolphe's Irrational Fears (04:25)

Act IV, Scene 8. Chysalde warns Arnolphe to temper his emotions about cuckoldom. "It is just what we make of it," Chysalde says. Arnolphe swears it will never happen to him, to which his friend argues that swearing it will not happen is bound to make it happen.

School for Wives: A Plan to Injure Horace (01:46)

Act IV, Scene 9. Arnolphe enlists the help of Alain and Georgette. They are to wait for Horace to reach the top of the ladder when he comes for Agnes, and then beat him with sticks. This is a good warning, he says, for all the husbands and wives in the neighborhood.

School for Wives: Is Horace Dead? (01:01)

Act V, Scene 1. Arnolphe is horrified to discover that Alain and Georgette went overboard with their violence. The young man at the scene is dead.

School for Wives: Horace Tells His Side of the Story (02:15)

Act V, Scene 2. Seeing Horace alive, Arnolphe asks what happened. Horace says he was hit once and fell from the ladder. His attackers assumed he was dead. Or is he?

School for Wives: Horace Tries to Protect Agnes (04:16)

Act V, Scene 2. Horace describes how happy Agnes was to find him alive. In their heightened emotional state, Horace and Agnes pledge their love. Horace asks Arnolphe to shelter Agnes in the meantime in order to preserve her reputation.

School for Wives: Horace Leaves Agnes with Arnolphe (02:10)

Act V, Scene 3. Horace leaves Agnes with Arnolphe, though she does not recognize him. She wants to be with Horace, but he begs her to accept the kind protection of his friend. Horace has peace of mind now.

School for Wives: Agnes Does Not Want to Marry Arnolphe (03:05)

Act V, Scene 4. Arnolphe reveals his identity. Agnes is not sure why he is angry with her. As he wanted to marry her, she says that he is not to her liking. She would rather marry Horace because she truly loves him.

School for Wives: Arnolphe's Passion Rekindled (03:53)

Act V, Scene 4. Agnes tells Arnolphe that Horace made himself lovable whereas he, Arnolphe, had not done so. Her kindness to him rekindles his passion and he forgives her and wants her to love him. She would, if it were in her power to do so.

School for Wives: Agnes Rejects Arnolphe for the Last Time (03:58)

Act V, Scene 4. Agnes cannot respond to Arnolphe's professions of ardent love. He says he'll kill himself if she asks him to. Angered by her rejections, he determines to send her to a convent.

School for Wives: Horace Is Pledged to Another Woman (02:30)

Act V, Scenes 5 and 6. Horace rushes in to say that his life is ruined. His father has promised him to another woman. He begs Arnolphe to keep his engagement to Agnes a secret. "All my hope is in you," Horace tells his would-be friend.

School for Wives: Confusion About the Bride (03:23)

Act V, Scene 7. Oronte, father to Horace and a great friend of Arnolphe, and Enrique, brother-in-law of Chrysalde, arrive to announce the engagement of Horace. Arnolphe urges that the wedding take place immediately. He hopes to have Agnes for himself.

School for Wives: Agnes Want Horace/Arnolphe Wants Agnes (00:39)

Act V, Scene 8. Agnes triesdesperately to escape so she can be with Horace. Arnolphe is determined to take her away for good. Horace is miserable.

School for Wives: Lovers United at Last (05:48)

Act V, Scenes 9 and 10. The truth comes out. Agnes is Horace's true fiancée. They were intended to marry after all. Arnolphe is aghast and stomps off. Horace explains everything to his father. "Heaven orders all for the best."

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L'Ecole des Femmes (in French)

Part of the Series : The Moliere Collection by La Comedie-Francaise (in French)
DVD Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Fearful of falling victim to marital infidelity, bachelor Arnolphe schemes to marry his guileless young ward, Agnès, whom he has had raised in a convent specifically to be his model wife. However, his naïve plan is spoiled when Agnès runs away with Horace—a fact that Arnolphe learns when Horace unwittingly asks him to conceal her at his home. Before Arnolphe can react, it is revealed that Agnès’ wealthy father has formally arranged her marriage to Horace, dashing his hopes forever. This play—Molière’s greatest commercial success—drew heavy attacks for supposed moral and literary flaws.

Length: 149 minutes

Item#: BVL10759

ISBN: 978-1-4213-6841-2

Copyright date: ©1999

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