School of Wives, and Life of a Sensuous Woman

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An essay collaborating the similarities between The School for Wives, written by Moliere Arnolphe, and Ihara Saikaku’s Life of a Sensuous Woman. The most obvious similarity between The School for Wives and Life of a Sensuous Woman is simply, they are both stories of what a man essentially desires his woman to be. In The School for Wives, Moliere basis the entirety of his story around the ethics of marriage. Though the main personage of this play, Arnolphe, was never married, he claims to be seasoned on the matter of cuckoldry and wiser than that of a man that desires beauty and wit from his significant other. He claims that to find a wife of honor, she needs to posses no other wits about her but essentially only the knowledge of how to sew, pray, and love her husband. Her library must include merely of two books, the Bible, and the Maxims of Marriage. Thus he designs and obsesses on what he believes to be the perfect woman and hopes to instill ignorance in a girl named Agnes in such a manner that she will be too innocent to outwit him when he proceeds marry her. Likewise, in the beginning of the story Life of a Sensuous Woman, the narrator (whose name is never mentioned) seeks to become the epitome of the elegant and refined ways of the aristocrats, though later we will learn that this story isn’t about wanting to be loved by men, because she is loved by several; she yearns to love herself. “Born with a beautiful face” (Saikaku 607) to the middle-class, her family soon hit the rough, and she became a servant of the court. There, she learned the ins-and-outs of how to be an upper-class whore. Though this story doesn’t entirely focus on vanity, it is clear that it was of most importance. She perfected her looks and swagger alongside her word-etiquette, molding herself into a woman just a suitable as the women she served in the court. Falling in love at an early
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