(Critical Survey of Literature, Revised Edition)

Early one morning Petit Jean stood in front of Dandin’s house while he complained about the sad state of affairs created by his master’s madness. Judge Dandin suddenly wanted to sit in judgment on his own family and to go to bed with his robes on. He had even ordered his rooster killed, saying that a defendant had bribed the bird to wake him up too late.

It was necessary for Leandre to have his father watched day and night, and this was the reason why Petit Jean could not sleep and was complaining. Leandre also insisted that Judge Dandin should not be allowed to go into court, but Dandin was constantly attempting to escape the watchfulness of his family in order to do so. When L’Intime and Petit Jean caught him trying to climb out the window, the noise awakened Leandre, who tried to persuade his father to go back into the house. Finally Petit Jean took Dandin into the house by force.

Leandre confessed to L’Intime his wish to have a note delivered to Isabelle, daughter of their neighbor, Chicanneau, and L’Intime promised to help him. At that moment Chicanneau arrived and insisted on seeing Dandin about one of his trials; the bourgeois was constantly engaged in lawsuits. Petit Jean firmly refused to let him enter. During the argument La Comtesse arrived; she also was always suing someone. Chicanneau tried to advise her about one of her lawsuits. When she misunderstood him and they began to quarrel, both asked Petit Jean to act as a witness. He tried his best to pacify them.

In order to deliver the note to Isabelle, L’Intime disguised himself as a process server and insisted that Leandre dress as a police commissioner....

(The entire section is 679 words.)