When an angry wife storms out of the house, her bewildered husband decides to consult an encyclopedia on the definition and history of woman. Ignoring stories of faithful and courageous women such as Joan of Arc, the young husband turns to tales of woman's perfidy, beginning with the story of Adam and Eve. In Rome, the wicked Messalina deceives her husband, Emperor Claudius, and centuries later, Abelard, a priest, betrays his vows for the enticing Heloise. In Brittany, a young wife named Cyrene leaves her husband, and during the American Civil War, a proffered piece of jewelry persuades a girl to reveal the hiding place of a Union soldier. In the end, however, the husband learns that because of the contributions she has made towards the winning of World War I, woman has emerged from the slavery that made her treacherous to become man's equal.