A Matter of Husbands by Ferenc Molnar – Summary & Exercise [NEB -12]

'A Matter of Husbands' is a one act play written by Ferenc Molnar. He is widely regarded as Hungary’s most celebrated and controversial playwright. There are three main characters in the play. They are Earnest Young Woman (Alfred’s wife), Sara (Famous Actress) and Alfred (Lawyer, husband of Earnest Young Woman). It is a very twisted one act play which depicts the story of Earnest Young Woman. She is married to a lawyer who knows Famous Woman.

Summary A Matter of Husbands

Ference Molnar‘s “A Matter of Husbands” is a complex one-act comedy that tells the story of an Earnest Woman who is married to a lawyer who is connected to a Famous Actress. Because she fears her spouse is having an affair with her, the Earnest Young Woman seeks out the Famous Actress. The celebrated actress narrates the narrative of a well-staged play in which a guy attempts to trick his wife into showing him more affection. When the Famous Actress ultimately tries to persuade the Earnest Woman that the narrative is true, we realize that the husband was hidden in the closet the entire time.

‘A Matter of Husbands’ covers the roles of actors on stage and in real life, as well as their ability to deceive us. At the commencement of the performance, the Earnest Young Woman emerges on stage, anxiously awaiting the famous actress. Earnest Young Woman rushes up to the Famous Actress as she enters the stage via the door, yelling furiously for her husband’s return. The well-known actress categorically denies snatching her spouse. She claims she has known him since he was given the case contract. She asks Earnest Young Lady what makes her think Alfred is in love with her to con the earnest young woman.

After hearing this, the actress grins and continues to deny getting any flowers or notes from him. The famous actress in the play A Matter of Husbands, now claims that something strange occurred that led Earnest Young Woman to assume that she and her husband had a misunderstanding.

Famous Woman convinces Earnest Young Woman that her husband is toying with her to make her jealous and recapture her attention and affection. Following that, the young lady admits her error and apologizes. A famous actress telephones Alfred from her bedroom after the eager young lady, i.e. the earnest young woman, left the stage. This is how the drama concludes.

Exercise [Questions Answers]

 Understanding the text A Matter of Husbands”

Answer the following questions.

What favour does Earnest Young Woman ask from The Famous Actress?

➜ Earnest Young Woman is a direct woman. She adores her spouse, but she discovers that the Famous Actress has kidnapped him from her. As a result, she approaches the Actress and requests that she return her husband..

What, according to The Earnest Young Woman, are the indications that her husband has fallen in love with Famous Actress?

➜According to The Earnest Young Woman, sending flowers and a strange love note are signs that her husband has fallen in love with Famous Actress. Her spouse sends flowers to the Famous Actress through messenger. She finds out about it from a florist who informs her about the scenario. Her spouse one day forgets about the love note on the table in which he apologizes for being unable to see the Famous Actress and promises her ten thousand kisses.

Is Earnest Young Woman convinced by the argument of Famous Actress? How?

➜The core interaction between Earnest Young Woman and Famous Actress suggests that Earnest Young Woman is persuaded. The Famous Actress tells her that Earnest Young Woman’s husband has come and asks her to set up a fictitious connection so that she will feel envious and fall in love with her again. She tells her that many stars are happy to accept such invitations to reunite their families.

Where is the Earnest Young Woman’s husband hiding himself as they are talking about him?

➜According to the script, the Famous Actress calls the husband of the Earnest Young Woman from her private chamber after the play. That may imply that the husband of the Earnest Young Woman is hiding there throughout the play. In actuality, it makes clear that Alfred and the Famous Actress are having an affair.

When do you feel that Famous Actress is really good at acting?

➜ When she tells the Earnest Young woman that her husband is playing a game on her to make her jealous so that she will change her attitude and will attempt to impress him by all means, I feel Famous Actress is really good at acting. She requests a lock of hair, which the Earnest Young Woman provides. She claims Alfred has it because she is afraid her fans will steal it and give it to him.

How do we come to know that Famous Actress and the husband of Earnest Young Woman are in love?

➜In the play’s climax, we learn that the Famous Actress and the husband of the Earnest Young Woman are in love. First of all, we think that during their furious argument, the Famous Actress snatched the Earnest Young Woman’s spouse. Later, the Famous Actress’ private chamber calls Alfred. Then it becomes obvious that the Sincere Young Woman was duped and that her husband and the Notable Actress are in a relationship.

Write down the plot of the play in a paragraph.

➜At the beginning of the performance, an earnest young woman enters the famous actress’ drawing room and asks her to bring her husband back. The well-known actress replies that she has not taken her spouse despite having met him. She requests an explanation as to why she is being held accountable. The Earnest Young Woman claims that her spouse has apologized in a love letter and brought her flowers. She reads that particular letter to the actress in front of her.

The well-known actress claimed that her spouse came up with this plan to win her greater devotion. She convinces the earnest young woman, saying that actors frequently find themselves in similar circumstances. To make their spouses envious, many employees and even managers ask her for favours.

The sincere young lady apologizes for her error and appreciates the actress for her assistance. She even gives the famous actress a kiss in gratitude for her assistance. The moment the Earnest Young Woman leaves the drawing room, the Famous Actress summons Alfred from her boudoir (chamber).

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Reference to the Context of A Matter of Husbands

Sketch the character of a Famous Actress.

➜ Sara is the name of the well-known actress in this drama. She is a highly well-known and prosperous theatrical actress from Hungary. She is both much wiser than Alfred and his wife and a talented actress. She plays an affair with Alfred in this play to make Earnest Young Woman envious, but in truth, she is in love with Alfred because of his wealth and personality. Additionally, the well-known actress has a princess-like appearance and the stage presence of a Greek goddess.

Shed light on the difference between an ordinary woman and an actress.

➜ The difference between a regular lady and an actor is that the former is uneasy and susceptible to deception, while the latter is quite intelligent. In “A Matter of Husband,” the common lady is presented as naive and terrified, easily duped by the actress’s made-up tale. She had sobbed when she came in the actress’s office because she thought her husband was cheating on her. But the actress had convinced her that her husband was trying to make her jealous in order to win back his affection. The common lady trusted her and accepted the narrative without challenging it.

According to Famous Actress, men associated with theatre use the theatre actresses to make their estranged wives jealous to woo them back. Do you agree with her argument? Why? Why not?

➜According to a Famous Actress in the play A Matter of Husbands, actors employ theatre actresses to make their spouses envious in an effort to win them back. No, I don’t agree with her since they are really uncommon occurrences. Her claim is so flimsy that it hardly touches the reality of guys working in theatres. She asserts that actors employ actresses to allegedly stir up jealousy in their emotionally distant wives in an effort to bring them back. In this scenario, an earnest young woman accuses her of cheating.

She makes up an entire group of men who are connected to the theater in order to escape being held accountable. Not every man associated with the theater has a weak, foolish, and dumb wife. In Alfred’s circumstance, we come across a simple-minded woman. A shrewd lady named The Famous Actress has an extramarital affair with Earnest Young Woman’s husband Alfred.

How does Famous Actress make a fool of Earnest Young Woman?

➜ Famous Actress makes an earnest young woman look foolish by making up a tale about actors and men in the theater. Earnest Young Woman accuses the Famous Actress of having an affair with her husband when she is placed on responsibility for the incident. Earnest Young Woman is persuaded that her husband is flirting with her in an effort to make her envious so that she will reciprocate her passion. The Earnest Young Woman acknowledges her error and apologizes after hearing her perspective. She kisses the well-known actress once she is lastly persuaded and content.

The conversation between the two women takes place on the stage of the theatre. What role does the theatre house as a part of the setting play in A Matter for Husband?

➜ The theatre house has served as part of the setting to demonstrate the basic purpose of performers, which is to persuade the audience to believe in the illusion. The theatre’s atmosphere allowed for the creation of an illusion among the audience, as well as the exceptional performances of the actors. The theatre has provided both characters with a pleasant environment in which to have their intimate conversations, which should not be conducted in public. The theatre house has played a significant role in presenting the subject concern as part of the setting.

What do you think about the ending of the play?

➜ ‘The drama “A Matter of Husbands” is quite good. It has a puzzling and unexpected conclusion. The dramatic and moving last scene of the play. This story eloquently demonstrates the fact that cunning individuals are constantly out to get innocent, gullible people. The Famous Actress claims that the young woman gets really happy with her spouse at the play’s conclusion because her husband desires a lot of tenderness from her. She might easily be duped by the famous actress when she performs. The Husband of the Honest Young Woman and the Famous Actress cohabitate peacefully. The play’s ending is satirical and romantic.

Reference beyond A Matter of Husbands

Write a paragraph describing your favourite actor/actress.

➜ In this answer you can write to yourself including the detail of your favourite actor and why you like him. Why he or she has been your role model and so on as described by a character in the play A Matter of Husbands.

John Cassavetes says, “I’m very worried about the depiction of women on the screen. It’s gotten worse than ever and it’s related to their being either high- or low-class concubines . . . . There’s nothing to do with the dreams of women, or of woman as the dream, nothing to do with the quirky part of her, the wonder of her.” How do you assess Famous Actress in light of Cassavetes’ argument about the portrayal of women?

➜ This well-known adage by John Cassavetes discusses how women are frequently represented in movies. A concubine is a woman who resides with a man in a polygamous society but is less important than the man’s wife or wives. John uses this quotation to point out how modern culture views how women are portrayed in movies. The public consistently associates women on screen with sex. They don’t rate them the same way they do on-screen men. John claims that no one acknowledges the amazing and eccentric aspects of women on TV and presents them negatively.

In this drama, Famous Actress is also represented as Alfred’s concubine, the spouse of the Earnest Young Woman. They are secretly having an affair in the play. In “The Matter of Husbands,” the Famous Actress is similarly portrayed unfavourably, mirroring Cassavetes’ position in his well-known quotation. In the play, the Famous Actress’s bad traits are highlighted more than her endearing quirks.