Le Mariage de raison


16 pages

Le Mariage de raison

| 1862 | Paris, France
Pierrot, Mme Trifouillon, Le Gendarme
Number of acts

Le Mariage de raison, first published by Duranty in 1862 in his Théâtre des marionnettes du Jardin des Tuileries, borrows its title from Scribe and Varner's comedy-vaudeville (1826), as the author wittily points out in the presentation of his play. However, the comparison between the two works stops there, since the title only provides Duranty with the opportunity to cruelly mock bourgeois clichés about the virtues of marriage of convinience.

The play is marked by a constant dynamism. The lines, often brief and in rapid succession, are punctuated by blows with stick, head, broomstick or skimmer. Ambushes, lazzes and chases take up much of the play. The character of Pierrot, who is particularly quick and inventive, is a ruthless stalker for his neighbour, Mrs Trifouillon. Even at the end, when Pierrot gets what he wants, he is not calming down and he forces his bride to hum a cheerful tune while dancing to the rhythm of his blows.

Although it is highly unlikely that Duranty had the opportunity to see guaraterallari in action, the tempo of the action here is more reminiscent of the Neapolitan Pulcinella than of the French Polichinelle.

Plot summary

A marriage obtained through harassment and beatings

Pierrot is harassing his rich neighbour Mrs Trifouillon to get her to marry him. He locks her out of her house, then hides in her wardrobe. He beats her, breaks her dishes, throws her furniture in the street and deprives her of food and rest to make her give in. They fight, then she goes out to find a gendarme. When the gendarme arrives, Pierrot mistakes him for Mrs Trifouillon and pretends to marry him. Then Pierrot beats the Gendarme and throws him out. He finds Mrs Trifouillon's piggy bank, but she manages to take it back. Under threat, she agrees to marry Pierrot, who beats her to the rhythm of a wedding song that she is forced to hum while dancing.

Related works
Le Mariage de raison, Eugène Scribe, Antoine-François Varner1838

First performance

Paris, France,

Théâtre des marionnettes du jardin des Tuileries in Paris

Publications and translations


Duranty, Théâtre des marionnettes du jardin des Tuileries, texte et composition des dessins par M. Duranty. Paris: MM. Dubuisson et Cie, Éditeurs-Libraires, 1862.

Modern edition

Louis Edmond Duranty, Théâtre des marionnettes. Arles: Actes Sud, 1995.

  • Merchant of Blows-with-a-Stick, and Other Plays by Louis Duranty. Translated & introduced
    by Sean KEOHANE. North Vancouver, B.C. : Charlemagne Press, 2007.