A Flea in Her Ear

by Georges Feydeau

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In A Flea in Her Ear, are there examples that show women's status, equality with men, and power in society and marriage? Are female characters written more richly than male characters?

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In A Flea in Her Ear, women’s relative equality with men is shown through the hypocrisy and deceit displayed by characters of both genders, especially in regard to marital fidelity. Women’s power in society is represented almost exclusively through the control they exert within marriage; this power is concentrated in their ability to manipulate their husbands, playing on their insecurities in order to obtain advantages or exact revenge. Especially in the married couple, Raymonde and Victor Emmanuel, the playwright shows that both are preoccupied not only with fidelity but with reputation. Raymonde considers having an affair but would not want it publicly known that her husband had cheated on her.

Because Feydeau’s work is a farce, all the characters are types, and specific characteristics are exaggerated to create specific effects or to advance particular plot points. For example, Tournel is a bachelor in love with a married woman, and Don Carlos is a hot-tempered Latin American man. Lucienne is a devoted wife, while her best friend is devious and manipulative. Both male and female characters are equally presented as caricatures rather than round, dynamic individuals.

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