A Flea in Her Ear

by Georges Feydeau

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

A Flea in Her Ear is a play by French playwright Georges Feydeau. The play is an example of a farce, which is a comedy where events are exaggerated to the point of absurdity, and even improbability. The story in Feydeau's play centers on the suspicions of a wife, Raymonde, regarding her husband's falsely-presumed infidelity. The play's dialogue is fast-paced and realistic in terms of conversation tone.

Lucienne—the wife's best friend and confidant—tells her friend, "Fundamentally, you're crazy about your husband." This quote reveals the obvious paranoia of Raymonde and her psyche. Raymonde is literally and figuratively "crazy" about her husband, because she creates irrational assumptions about her husband's faithfulness.

When Raymonde tells Lucienne why she suspects her husband of infidelity, she reveals that her assumptions are based on her observations about his changes in behavior. "When a husband has been—for years and years—an impetuous tyrant and, suddenly, nothing, completely nothing." This is an important line the play because it sets up the revelation about her husband's change in behavior later on in the story.

When Raymonde tells Lucienne where she suspects her husband is meeting with his mistress, the playwright uses sexual innuendos and tongue-in-cheek humor to illustrate that Raymonde is not at fault for making her assumptions. "The Hotel Pussycat . . . It's not exactly a family boarding house." The imagery of a hotel named after a symbol of the female anatomy, or reference to sexually promiscuous women, is an effective way to get the audience on Raymonde's side.

When the story culminates after Raymonde mistakenly suspects a drunken vagrant was her husband at the hotel—in an attempt to catch her husband in her "trap"—she realizes that her husband was having issues with sexual impotence, or a lack of sexual passion in their marriage. That is why he had not been as attentive towards her as in the past. After admitting she was wrong about suspecting her husband of infidelity, she tells him, "So I had a little suspicion—a little flea in my ear." In response, her husband assures her that he is determined to "kill" the "flea" in her ear, meaning he is willing to show her that he is faithful to Raymonde.

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