Scapin the Schemer

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Scapin the Schemer
Front page of Les Fourberies de Scapin
Written byMolière
  • Scapin
  • Léandre
  • Octave
  • Géronte
  • Argante
  • Hyacinthe
  • Zerbinette
  • Silvestre
  • Carle
  • Nérine
  • Two porters
Date premieredMay 24, 1671 (1671-05-24)
Place premieredThéâtre du Palais-Royal, Paris
Original languageFrench
GenreComedy of intrigue
SettingNaples, Italy

Scapin the Schemer (French: Les Fourberies de Scapin) is a three-act comedy of intrigue by the French playwright Molière.[1] 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.[2]

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 the 1676 The Cheats of Scapin by Thomas Otway[3] and Scapino by Frank Dunlop and Jim Dale in 1974,[4] which has also been further adapted by Noyce Burleson.[5] Bill Irwin and Mark O'Donnell also adapted the play, as Scapin, in 1995.[6]


Léandre's valet and "fourbe" (a rough translation of "fourbe" is "a deceitful person")
Son of Géronte and lover of Zerbinette
Son of Argante and lover of Hyacinthe
Father of Léandre and of Hyacinthe
Father of Octave and of Zerbinette
Daughter of Géronte and lover of Octave
Daughter of Argante and lover of Léandre, believed to be a gypsy girl
Octave's valet
Hyacinthe's wet nurse
Two porters


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 ).


"À vous dire la vérité, il y a peu de choses qui me soient impossibles, quand je veux m'y mêler."

"To tell you the truth, there are few things that I find impossible, when I want to do them."

— Scapin, in Act 1, Scene 2

"Il vaut mieux encore d'être marié que mort."

"It's still better to be married than to be dead."

— Scapin, in Act 1, Scene 4

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pavis (1998, 65).
  2. ^ Garreau (1984, 417–418).
  3. ^ Canfield, J. Douglas. Tricksters and Estates: On the Ideology of Restoration Comedy. University Press of Kentucky, 2014. p.256
  4. ^ Scapino!
  5. ^ Scapino! adaptation by Noyce
  6. ^ Scapin, adapted by Bill Irwin and Mark O'Donnell
  • Garreau, Joseph E. 1984. "Molière". In McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama. Ed. Stanley Hochman. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 9780070791695. 397–418.
  • Pavis, Patrice. 1998. Dictionary of the Theatre: Terms, Concepts, and Analysis. Trans. Christine Shantz. Toronto and Buffalo: U of Toronto P. ISBN 0-802-08163-0.


External links[edit]