Les Fourberies de Scapin

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FourberiesScapin.jpg
Front page of Les Fourberies de Scapin
Written by Molière
Characters
Scapin
Léandre
Octave
Géronte
Argante
Hyacinthe
Zerbinette
Silvestre
Carle
Nérine
Two porters
Date premiered  1671 (1671-MM)
Place premiered Paris
Original language French
Genre Comedy

Les Fourberies de Scapin (literally, "Scapin's Deceits") is a three-act comedy by the French playwright Molière. The title character Scapin is similar to the archetypical Scapino character. The play was first staged on 24 May 1671 in the theatre of the Palais-Royal in Paris.[1]

The original play is in French but, like many of Molière's plays, it has been translated into many different languages. Adaptations in English include Scapino! by Frank Dunlop and Jim Dale,[2] which has also been further adapted by Noyce Burleson.[3] Bill Irwin and Mark O'Donnell have also adapted the play, as Scapin.[4] Despite a few alterations and modernization of language, the play still retains much of its original structure.

Characters[edit]

Scapin 
Léandre's valet and "fourbe" (a rough translation of "fourbe" is "a deceitful person")
Léandre 
Son of Géronte and lover of Zerbinette
Octave 
Son of Argante and lover of Hyacinthe
Géronte 
Father of Léandre and of Hyacinthe
Argante 
Father of Octave and of Zerbinette
Hyacinthe 
Daughter of Géronte and lover of Octave
Zerbinette 
Daughter of Argante and lover of Léandre
Silvestre 
Octave's valet
Carle 
"Fourbe"
Nérine 
Hyacinthe's wet nurse
Two porters

Plot[edit]

Scapin constantly lies and tricks people to get ahead. He is an arrogant, pompous man who acts as if nothing were impossible for him. However, he is also a diplomatic genius. He manages to play the other characters off of each other very easily, and yet manages to keep his overall goal — to help the young couples — in sight.

In their fathers' absence, Octave has secretly married Hyacinthe and Léandre has secretly fallen in love with Zerbinette. But the fathers return from a trip with marriage plans for their respective sons. Scapin, after hearing many pleas for help, comes to their rescue. Thanks to many tricks and lies, Scapin manages to come up with enough money from the parents to make sure that the young couples get to stay married. But, no one knows who Hyacinthe and Zerbinette really are. It ends in the classic "And they lived happily ever after," and Scapin is even brought to the head of the table at the ending feast (even though he has to fake a fatal wound to make it happen).

Quotations[edit]

"À vous dire la vérité, il y a peu de choses qui me soient impossibles, quand je veux m'y mêler."
Scapin, Act 1, Scene 2
"To tell you the truth, there are few things that I find impossible, when I want to do them."

"Il vaut mieux encore d'être marié que mort."
Scapin, Act 1, Scene 4
"It's still better to be married than to be dead."

"Mais que diable est-il allé faire dans cette galère?"
Géronte, Act 2, Scene 7
"What the devil was he doing in that galley?"
(This line prompted a new word in French: "galère" now also has the meaning "a cumbersome, painful business.")[5]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • Garreau, Joseph E. (1984). "Molière", pp. 397–418 in McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama, Stanley Hochman, editor in chief. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 9780070791695.

Bibliography[edit]

In French:

In English: