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Molière, undoubtedly one of the greatest writers of comedy in the history of theatre, won enormous success for The School for Wives (L’Ecole des Femmes) in Paris in 1662; yet this highly popular play, satirising ridiculous male attitudes to women, aroused as much hostility as critical acclaim. Arnolphe, a narrow-minded merchant hoping to marry his young ward, Agnès, is obsessed with the fear of being made a cuckold. But all his artful plans serve only to speed him towards the fate he is so desperate to avoid.
Molière himself first played the hapless merchant, and this believable character in an all too believable predicament both startled and delighted his public. This highly successful translation of The School for Wives, directed by Sir Peter Hall, ran in the West End for six months.