At first, the men in the play want to maintain their traditional advantage over the women, but they do show some signs of flexibility once they realize that the women are quite determined to be heard. The two extremes are M. Sorbin and Persinet: Sorbin is set in his views and speaks in clichés about being the lord and master and the head of the family, whereas Persinet is so blinded by his love for Lina that he is willing to concede everything to win her.
On the other hand, Timagène and Hermocrate are more reasonable. Timagène concedes that the woman's complaints will be addressed in setting up the new government; Hermocrate breaks the deadlock between the sexes when he drives them together in the face of the imagined mutual enemy. He helps them out of the impasse they have reached.
In addition to being a moralist, Marivaux is a pragmatist. He realizes that customs and habits will not and usually do not change overnight. He follows in the long comedic-philosophical tradition of castigo ridendo. When the curtain falls, the world has not changed, but the master rhetorician has presented the women's complaints in detail and with lucidity.
Marivaux's entire oeuvre bears witness to his admiration for women. He never treats them as second-class citizens. On the contrary, they are at the center of his theater as well as his novels. Marivaux's heroines display a deep sense of their own worth; they are intelligent and resourceful, and they exhibit unusually independent natures.
Although Marivaux was successful in his own century, his genius and originality were not fully recognized until the nineteenth century. Clearly, his literary descendants are, in the nineteenth century, Musset, and in the twentieth, Giraudoux and Anouilh.
La Colonie illustrates his advanced views on women's rights and places him in the vanguard of French male writers who loved and appreciated women and presented them as many-faceted individuals possessing among other qualities intelligence, integrity, and courage.
Marivaux, Théâtre Complet (TC), Editions Gallimard, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 1949, p. 518. All quotes from this text are my translations.
Gerould Daniel. Gallant and Libertine. Eighteenth Century French Divertissements and Parades. Edited, translated, and with an introduction by D. Gerould. New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1983.
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Publication information: Book title: The French Revolution of 1789 and Its Impact. Contributors: Gail M. Schwab - Editor, John R. Jeanneney - Editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1995. Page number: 30.