Short summary - Le Jodelet - Paul Scarron

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Le Jodelet
Paul Scarron

The play takes place in Madrid. Don Juan Alvarado flew to the capital from his native Burgos to meet with his bride. Even the family misfortune did not stop the young nobleman: upon his return from Flanders, don Juan learned that his elder brother had been treacherously killed, and the dishonored sister Lucretia had disappeared into some unknown place. All thoughts of revenge were abandoned as soon as don Juan saw the portrait of his betrothed, the lovely Isabella de Rojas. Passion flared up instantly: the young man ordered Jaudelet's servant to send his own image to Madrid, and he himself followed. On the spot, an unpleasant circumstance becomes clear: Jaudelet, taking advantage of the opportunity, also decided to capture his physiognomy, then he began to compare both works, and as a result, the beautiful Isabella received a portrait not of the owner, but of the servant. Don Juan is shocked: what will the girl say when she sees such a pig's snout? But the cheerful Jaudelet consoles his master: when the beauty sees him, she will like him twice as much in contrast, and the story of the stupid servant's gullibility, of course, will make her smile. At the house of Fernand de Rojas, don Juan notices a shadow and draws his sword. Don Luis, descending the rope ladder from the balcony, quickly dissolves into the darkness so as not to start a duel under Isabella's windows. Don Juan stumbles upon the faithful Jaudelet: he falls backwards out of fear and begins to kick, defending himself with his feet from the enraged caballero. Everything ends well, but a suspicion arises in don Juan's soul: the young man who escaped did not look like a thief - rather, we are talking about a lover. The example of a sister brought up in the concepts of honor and who could not resist the seducer calls for caution, so don Juan invites Jaudell to switch roles - the servant may well impersonate the master due to the confusion with the portrait. Jaudelet, having broken for the sake of appearance, agrees and anticipates with delight how he will feast on lordly dishes and instruct the court dandies.

In the morning, Isabella passionately interrogates the maid about who climbed onto the balcony at night. At first, Beatrice swears in her complete innocence, but then admits that Don Luis, the handsome nephew of Don Fernand, bypassed her by cunning. The young rider with tears in his eyes begged to let him in to the lord for a second, tried to bribe and pity the vigilant Beatrice, but nothing came of it, and the darling had to jump down, where they were already waiting for him - not without reason people say that don Juan Alvarado rode to Madrid. Isabella is filled with disgust for the groom - she has never met a more disgusting face. The girl tries to convince her father of this, but Don Fernand does not want to back down: if you believe the portrait, the future son-in-law is extremely unprepossessing, but he stands highly in the opinion of the court.

Don Fernand sends his daughter away at the sight of a lady under a veil. Lucrezia, don Juan's disgraced sister, came to ask for protection from her father's longtime friend. She does not hide her guilt - her life was burned by the fire of love passion. Two years ago, at a tournament in Burgos, all the knights were overshadowed by a visiting youth, who also pierced the heart of Lucretia. The impulse was mutual: if the cunning seducer did not love, he skillfully pretended to be. Then a terrible thing happened: the elder brother died, the father faded from grief, and the lover disappeared without a trace. But Lucrezia saw him from the window - now she had a hope of finding the villain.

Don Fernand promises full support to the guest. Then his nephew turns to him for advice. Two years ago, Don Luis, at the invitation of his best friend, came to a tournament in Burgos and fell madly in love with a beautiful girl who also gave him her heart. Once an armed man burst into the bedroom, a fight began in the dark, both opponents struck at random, and Don Luis struck the enemy to death. His despair was great when he recognized the murdered friend - his beloved turned out to be his own sister. Don Luis managed to escape safely, but now the circumstances have changed: according to rumors, the younger brother of the nobleman he killed is going to Madrid - this brave young man is burning with a thirst for revenge. A debt of honor tells Don Luis to accept the challenge, but his conscience does not allow to kill.

There is a loud knock at the door, and Beatrice reports that the groom is breaking into the house - all in curls and curls, discharged and perfumed, in stones and gold, like a Chinese bogdykhan. Don Luis is unpleasantly amazed: how could an uncle marry his daughter without informing his relatives? Don Fernand is concerned about something completely different: a massacre will begin in the house if don Juan finds out who his offender is. Jaudelet appears in the costume of don Juan and don Juan in the guise of Jaudelaus. The young man is amazed at the beauty of Isabella, and she looks at her betrothed with hatred. The imaginary caballero rudely pushes the future father-in-law, gives the bride a vulgar compliment and immediately demands to quickly round up the dowry business. Don Luis, madly in love with Isabella, quietly rejoices - now he is sure that his cousin will not resist his pressure. Beatrice colorfully describes how don Juan eagerly pounced on the food. Having dripped the whole jacket with sauce, the son-in-law lay down in the pantry right on the floor and began to snore so that the dishes on the shelves rattled. Don Fernand has already slapped his daughter in the face, although he himself dreams of only one thing - how to turn the shafts back.

Isabella again presses on her father with persuasion, but Don Fernand insists that he cannot break his word. In addition, the family has a great sin before don Juan - don Luis dishonored his sister and killed his brother. Left alone, Isabella indulges in sorrowful reflections: her future husband is disgusting to her, her cousin's passion is disgusting, and she herself is suddenly captivated by those whom she has no right to love - honor does not allow her even to pronounce this name! Don Luis appears with a fiery outpouring. Isabella quickly stops them: let him make empty promises and commit heinous atrocities in Burgos. Beatrice warns the mistress that the father and the groom are coming down to the noise, and the exit is closed: don Juan's servant is hanging around at the door - and this handsome man is not at all harmless. Don Luis hastily hides in the bedroom, while Isabella begins to confess to Beatrice, who allegedly called don Juan an ugly and stupid brute. The enraged Jaudelet showered Beatrice with areal abuse, and Don Fernand hastily retreats upstairs. The groom and his "servant" are left alone with the bride. Jaudelet sincerely declares that he has always liked such rich beauties. Isabella replies that with the advent of don Juan, her life has changed: before, men almost disgusted her, but now she passionately loves what is constantly with the groom. Jaudelet understands only one thing from this - the girl fell in love! Deciding to try his luck, he sends the "servant" and invites the bride to go to the balcony for a breath of air. This venture ends with a whipping: don Juan ruthlessly beats Jaudelet, but when Isabella enters, the roles change - Jaudelet begins to haunt his master for allegedly unflattering comments about Isabella. Don Juan has to endure, because a shrewd servant has put him in a hopeless position. The masquerade must be continued in order to clarify the truth: Isabella is inexpressibly beautiful, but, apparently, is incorrect.

Finally, Beatrice lets Don Luis out of the bedroom, and at this moment Lucrezia enters, extremely amazed at Don Fernand's behavior, who promised to protect her, but does not appear. Don Luis, mistaking Lucretia for Isabella, tries to explain himself: in Burgos he just dragged himself after one girl, but she is not suitable for a lovely cousin. Lucretia, throwing back her veil, showered Don Luis with reproaches and loudly calls for help. Don Juan appears - Lucretia, instantly recognizing her brother, involuntarily rushes under the protection of don Luis. Don Juan draws his sword with the intention of defending the honor of his "master". Don Luis is forced to engage in a fight with a footman, but then Don Fernand bursts into the room. Don Juan whispers to Lucretia to keep a secret, and out loud announces that he was doing his duty: don Luis was in Isabella's bedroom - therefore, don Juan was clearly insulted. Don Fernand admits that Jaudelet was right, and don Luis gives his word that he will fight either don Juan or his servant.

Moved by Isabella's kindness, Lucretia hints that don Juan is not at all what he seems. Jaudelet enters the stage, picking his teeth with delight and belching loudly after a hearty breakfast with meat and garlic. At the sight of Beatrice, he is ready to let go of his hands, but the case is spoiled by the appearance of an indignant Isabella. With a sigh, Jaudelet recalls the wise commandment of Aristotle: women should be taught with a stick. Don Fernand tells his "son-in-law" the good news: don Juan can finally cross the sword with Don Luis, his sister's abuser. Jaudelet categorically refuses to duel: firstly, he does not care about any insult, because his own skin is more expensive, secondly, he is ready to forgive everything to the nephew of his future father-in-law, and thirdly, he has a vow - never to get into a fight because of for a woman. Outraged to the depths of his soul, Don Fernand declares that he does not intend to marry his daughter for a coward, and Jaudelet immediately informs his master that Don Luis dishonored Lucretia. Don Juan asks the servant to be patient a little longer. He wants to believe that Isabella is innocent, because her cousin could just bribe the maid. A fight is coming, and Jaudelet begs don Juan not to identify himself.

Beatrice, offended by another lover, mourns a bitter girl's lot. Isabella longingly awaits the wedding, and Lucretia assures her friend that there is no more worthy knight in all of Castile than her brother. Jaudelet leads don Luis into the room where don Juan has already hidden. The servant is clearly cowardly, and Don Luis showered him with ridicule. Then Jaudelet puts out the candle: don Juan replaces him and inflicts a light wound on the opponent's hand. The situation is clarified only with the appearance of don Fernand: don Juan admits that he entered the house under the guise of a servant because he was jealous of Isabella of don Luis, who at the same time turned out to be his sister's seducer. Don Luis swears that Beatrice led him to the balcony and into the room without the knowledge of her mistress. He deeply regrets that he accidentally killed his best friend, and is ready to marry Lucretia. Don Fernand appeals to prudence: the nephew and son-in-law must reconcile, and then the house will become a place for a merry wedding feast. Don Juan and Don Luis embrace, Lucrezia and Isabella follow suit. But the last word remains with Jaudelet: the servant asks the former "bride" to give the portrait: this will be his gift to Beatrice - let three couples enjoy the well-deserved happiness.