Moliere’s work “The Misanthrope” talks about the sincerity of human’s emotions. In a world where honesty is a virtue but also an illusion everything is based on corruption, lies, money and the author wants to make us believe those who speak the truth.
Moliere deeply believes that only on truth can one base his life. Alcesle did not understand that the social life demanded compromise and adjustment next to virtues. He couldn’t make all of that happen so he became a loner.
Genre: play, comedy with 5 acts
Place: Celimene’s house, Paris
Time: the beginning of 17th century
Here we meet Alcesle and Philinte. They get into a fight because their opinions about friendship differ. Philinte thought that friendship is possible with all the people that are good while Alcesle believed that friendship is built step by step with the people we choose.
Oronte joins them and he has great respect for Alcesle so he gives him his hand of friendship and askas for his opinion on some of his poems. Alcesle found the poems to be worthless and suggests to Oronte to give up poetry. Oronte was offended and he left immediately.
Alcesle fussed about the number of Celimene’s courtiers. Celimena explained that it wasn’t her fault and that the number didn’t depend on her. They got into a fight and Alcesle told her to choose between him and her courtiers.
Acaste and his friend joined them while discussing the behavior of high society members. Alcesle told them it wasn’t nice to make fun of somebody’s characteristics. Then a guard came for him, but Alcesle had no idea why.
The marquises, Celimene’s courtiers, agree that they’ll move from each other’s way when Celimene pickes one. Celimene is visited by Arsinoe that tell her how many people have a bad opinion about her because of the number of her courtiers. She was actually jealous at Celimene for being young and beautiful. Celimene told her she should mind her own business.
Alcesle is bitter and goes to visit Celimene. He encountered Eliante and Philinte who talked about love and declared their love for one another. Alcesle brought letter that prove Celimene’s infidelity. Celimene told him she loved him but then his servant interrupted them. He told Alcesle that he needs to run out of town because he will end up in jail for insulting the poet.
ASlcesle tells Philinte his plan. He was going to leave the society but before that he wanted to test Celimene’s love for him. He went to her house where he found Acaste and Oronte demanding Celimene to choose one of them. The marquises arrived then with a letter in which Celimene made fun of her courtiers. Alcesle was repulsed by that letter and Celimene, even though he still loved her and wanted to marry her.
Celimene told him she is scared of marriage and that she would feel alone in one. Alcesle was deeply hurt by that so he left her and didn’t want to hear about her ever again.
Characters: Alcesle, Oronte, Philinte, Celimene, Acaste, Arsinoe, Eliante…
Alcesle – sensitive, loves Celimene and through the play he only wants to be with her. In the beginning he fought for her in spite of her courtiers but in the end when she admitted to be afraid of marriage he left her.
Celimene – beautiful young lady with many courtiers. She seemed indecisive but she, deep down inside, loved Alcesle.
Jean Baptiste Poqelin Moliere Biography
Born in 1622 in Paris, France to a wealthy bourgeois family, Moliere went on to become a favorite of the court of Louis XIV.
His mother died while he was young and Moliere was never close to his father, Jean Poquelin. His father held a prestigious office in the court of Louis XIII. He was the valet of the King’s chamber and the keeper of carpets and upholstery. Poquelin purchased the position and planned to pass it down to his son. But Moliere had different ideas.
Moliere attended school at the Jesuit College de Clermont where he got his first taste of the stage. When he was twenty-one years old, Moliere dropped out of school so he could concentrate on the stage. Me and the actress, Madeleine Bejart opened a theater together. It was called the Illustre Theatre. Although Madeleine’s brother and sister helped them with their performances, the theater went bankrupt in 1645.
Moliere was imprisoned for 24 hours, but the debts were paid by either his father or a lover of one of the troupe, and Moliere was released to resume acting. After this, he adapted his stage name, Moliere.
The reason could have been because he did not want to embarrass his father. The court of Louis XIV has made actors more fashionably accepted in society, but they still could not be buried in consecrated ground.
For the next twelve years, Moliere and his troupe traveled throughout France putting on plays. Moliere had a talent for mockery which was evident in his plays. Along the way, he acquired a patron. Armand was the Prince of Conti of the House of Bourbon, and the governor of Languedoc. Moliere lost his patronage after Armand incurred syphilis and became religious. Then Armand joined with a group of zealots who boycotted Moliere’s risque plays.
When Moliere finally returned to Paris, he had developed some notoriety. In Paris, he rented the Louvre, which was a theater at the time, and performed for the King in 1658. His troupe was a success and awarded the title of Troupe de Monsieur. While there Moliere wrote plays in a comedic style. His plays used humor to criticize the customs of France at that time.
Moliere contracted pulmonary tuberculosis during his time in prison while young. In 1673 Moliere was performing in the play, Le Malade Imaginaire, or The Imaginary Invalid. It is a play about a hypochondriac. During a scene, Moliere is supposed to fall into a coughing fit. Unfortunately, the coughing fit was real, and Moliere was dying. He insisted on finishing the play.
After the play was finished, he collapsed and was taken to his home. He died 1673. He did not receive last rites because two priests refused and a third was late. There is a superstition that green brings bad luck to actors because that was the color Moliere wore on that fateful night.
Since Moliere was an actor, he could not be buried in consecrated ground, but his wife appealed to the King. He allowed her to bury Moliere at night in the part of the cemetery set aside for unbaptized infants.
Moliere’s remains were moved to the museum of French Monuments in 1792 and then moved again to the Pere Lachaise Cemetary in Paris in 1817.
Book reports from Moliere