Le Misanthrope

Le MisanthropeThe Misanthrope, Moliere S Richly Sophisticated Comic Drama Is Accompanied In This Volume By The Would Be Gentleman, Another Tale Of A Dangerously Deluded And Obsessive Hero Tartuffe Dares To Take On The Subject Of Religious Hypocrisy Also Included Are Such Foolish Affected Ladies And Those Learned Ladies, Both Newly Translated For This Edition Finally, The Doctor Despite Himself Is A Hilarious Example Of Moliere S Long Standing Vendetta Against The Medical Profession

Jean Baptiste Poquelin, also known by his stage name, Moli re, was a French playwright and actor who is considered one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature Among Moli re s best known dramas are Le Misanthrope, The Misanthrope , L Ecole des femmes The School for Wives , Tartuffe ou l Imposteur, Tartuffe or the Hypocrite , L Avare ou l cole du mensonge The Miser , Le Malade

❰KINDLE❯ ❂ Le Misanthrope Author Molière – Ultimatetrout.info
  • Paperback
  • 512 pages
  • Le Misanthrope
  • Molière
  • English
  • 02 September 2017
  • 9780451524157

10 thoughts on “Le Misanthrope

  1. says:

    Ecce Homo This time however it s not about the words spoken by Pontius Pilate, nor about the paintings and works of art rendering the passion and life of Jesus Christ, or even about Nietzsche s book Ecce Homo Well, this time is about Moliere, aka Jean Baptiste Poquelin by his real name, probably for some at least the greatest and best loved French author and comic actor, who ever lived present included, whose greatness or the secret of it is still today, as much as three centuries ago, living in the appeal of his plays immediate and durable, accessible and inexhaustible, but mostly in the comic inventiveness, richness of fabric and insight manners, human nature, society, etc.My acquaintance with him is not new, but it is now on a refreshing and invigorating status plunging head ahead where I see with my eyes, at least the mind eyes if the vision doesn t help me much, sometimes, somehow, somewhere The Misanthrope, with the subtitle Or, The Melancholy Lover is a verse comedy in 5 acts, first performed on 4th June 1666, at the Theatre du Palais Royal in Paris by Moliere s company, the Troupe du Roi As usual, Moliere acted in the main male character role this time as Alceste a most comic hero eventually, even if one can t help thinking that it looks, shows like a tragic one.Full of himself, an unconscious but tyrannical egoist, Alceste is constant in his excessiveness from start up the closing of the final act He gives us a full theory of utter frankness, still unable to apply it on a theoretical practice, as when he is asked to test it, he just fails to implement what he preaches needless to say, he is fully dressed in a inconsistency of speech, even when it s about his most enduring love towards Celimene, however, sadly he is misled by his vanity The virtue ridiculed in Alceste is not basically the virtue itself but about the unexamined virtue of the theorist who talks plausibly but does not practice what he preaches and of the nonconformist, who has eyes for all the vices of society except his own It turns that all leads to an overall excess of other vices that naturally accompany Alceste s virtues self righteousness, inconsistency and a strong tint of hypocrisy, eager to criticize and correct human foibles As of these days my present I ve been bombarded with a strong presence of such a farce of manners and human nature, as coming on stage I m anxious to continue my journey page under construction Act IIMy maternal grandmother used to say that too much knowledge instruction education experiments experiences acquired through books only and lived through imagination chiefly and not lived also through physical reality does make someone look and behave really foolishly in those instants when one ought to be the most able to make the proper decision s I even can picture her commenting on Moliere s plays She would be deeply disappointed as to why to read something that it s so straightforward, simple, and mostly met in real life IS there something to learn as long as the life experiences are the best examples ever affected on yourself Well, yes You cannot ever know when you are actually the genuine actor of those plays Like myself, nowadays It s just there is that someone else that is playing the best part, and not myself I find that to win men, there is no better way than to adorn oneself before their eyes with their inclinations, fall in with their maxims, praise their defects, and applaud whatever they do One need have no fear of overdoing the complaisance and even though the way you trick them is visible, even the shrewdest are great dupes when it comes to flattery and there is nothing so absurd or so ridiculous that you can t make them shallow it if you season it with praise but when you need men, you simply have to adjust to them and since that s the only way to win them over, it s not the fault of those you flatter, but of those who want to be flattered Act III

  2. says:

    IntroductionChronologyBibliographyNote on MoneyTranslator s Note Such Foolish Affected Ladies Tartuffe The Misanthrope The Doctor Despite Himself The Would Be Gentleman Those Learned Ladies Explanatory Notes

  3. says:

    StudentProfessor, please, I need some assistance I have a question, that, despite my persistence,I can t seem to solve, even after many hours.It appears it is utterly beyond my powers.ProfessorNo worries, lad, just tell me the question You have my full and complete attention.StudentThanks Well, I want to know whyI think it s funny when some beefy guyYells at a child, It s not a tumor Essentially, what is the essence of humor Why do some things consistently make me laugh Fart jokes, word play, an embarrassing gaffe,Buffoonery, silliness, the occasional pun,One liners, satire, and jokes about nuns Why, I ask you, do I find this amusing I m telling you, I find it confusing.What single quality do all these things haveThat elicit giggles, chuckles, chortles, and laughs What is the difference between a story and a joke Why is die serious, but it s silly to say croak Why are some people funnier than others Why are we so fond of jokes about mothers Why does some humor grow stale with time,While some remains perpetually in its prime Why do some people bore me than I can bear,But I find it hilarious to read Moli re ProfessorYou ask many interesting questions Perhaps too many for one lesson.And, besides, many are still mysteries So I hope you will be appeasedIf I offer only my own opinion Whether you agree or not, that s your decision.StudentI ll be grateful for anything you say.ProfessorAlright, my lad, here is my best assay.We tend to laugh at things out of the ordinarySomething strange, unusual, fantastic, or just veryOdd something that we re not used to seeing.I think at this point you ve got my meaning.StudentMaybe that s true but that s not enough In a given week, we see lots of odd stuff.Not all of it makes us laugh or giggle.Some makes us cringe, some makes us wriggle Some makes us scream, or smile, or cry Yet some makes us chuckle Why ProfessorYes, yes, you interrupted me, my lad.I wasn t finished, there s something I ll add.We laugh at things that simulate danger.So when you are accosted by a strange looking stranger,And it appears at first like there might be peril Like the man had gone feral, or was pointing a barrelOf a gun A robbery, a murder, a rape But it turns out the man only wanted some tape,The situation goes from serious to comic Because the man you just thought was dangerously psychotic,Only turns out to need a strip of adhesive To make two pieces of paper cohesive.There s no danger at all How wrong could you be And this, I think, is the essence of comedy.StudentYour answer is interesting, if not very original Yet that may just be the fundamental principle.This leads be, however, to another doubt This one is much harder can you help me out ProfessorIf the question is within my capacity,I will tackle it with utmost tenacity.StudentThe question is this What is the purposeThat comedy plays What is the serviceThat comedians render Why pay legal tenderFor comedy What does laughing engender ProfessorThis question is, indeed, very much harderAnd I m afraid that, despite all my ardor,It s a question that I cannot decide I haven t been able to pick a side.Some people say comedy pushes boundaries,By pointing out absurdities in people s surroundingsAnd bringing up social ills in an acceptable way This is what makes jokes daring or risqu.This might explain why humor is often offensive,And jokes tend to make people defensive Why many comedians are always getting into trouble,And life for them is often a constant struggleAgainst respectability But some disagreeWith this, and consider comedy to beEssentially conservative, reinforcing the status quoBy mocking novelty and change, by aiming low,Punching down, and legitimizing the way things are.Now you might think that this judgment is harshBut it would explain why, after millions of jokesPeople are still struggling under the same yoke.But I will say that even if this were true,It wouldn t lead me to write off or eschewComedy, for I ve learned as I ve gotten oldThat progress is great, but laughter is gold.

  4. says:

    I always hear people downplay farce, but I just can t agree with that when I read farces like these These are hysterical with marvelously developed story lines and characters Beyond that, these farces laughingly deliver extremely sharp insights into what it is to be human After all, we are laughable creatures It is only with humorous absurdity that we can truly be understood These plays are wonderfully written.

  5. says:

    Wonder if The Misanthrope s Alceste and Philinte inspired Austen s characters Darcy and Bingley Though Darcy evolves than Alceste.

  6. says:

    Moliere has long been on my to read list because his comedies were on a list of 100 Significant Books I was determined to read through The introduction in one of the books of his plays says that of his thirty two comedies a good third are among the comic masterpieces of world literature The plays are surprisingly accessible and amusing, even if by and large they strike me as frothy and light compared to comedies by Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Wilde, Shaw and Rostand But I may be at a disadvantage I m a native New Yorker, and looking back it s amazing how many classic plays I ve seen on stage, plenty I ve seen in filmed adaptation and many I ve studied in school Yet I ve never encountered Moliere before this Several productions of Shakespeare live and filmed are definitely responsible for me love of his plays Reading a play is really no substitute for seeing it the text is only scaffolding So that might be why I don t rate these plays higher I admit I also found Wilbur s much recommended translation off putting at first The format of rhyming couplets seemed sing song and trite, as if I was reading the lyrics to a musical rather than a play As I read I did get used to that form, but I do suspect these are the kinds of works that play much better on stage than on the page.Misanthrope this was the first Moliere play I ever read, and arguably the most famous of all his plays The introduction in what might seem an oxymoron calls it a comic King Lear, and I can see that side of it As comic as this might read, it is basically a tragedy about the young man Alceste, the misanthrope of the play, who makes such a fetish of always being honest he alienates everyone around him The character I enjoyed the most was definitely the malicious Arsinoe who plays the prude The catty scenes between her and Alceste s love Celimene is particularly hilarious The Doctor in Spite of Himself involves a trick played by a wife on her husband Sgaranelle that causes him to be mistaken for a doctor who then undertakes to continue the impersonation As with almost all the other plays by Moliere I read this then involves tricking tyrannical parents into letting young love take its course This strikes me even on the page as pretty slapstick and I think would do better in performance than it reads Even on the pages it s often amusing and I can understand why this is Moliere s second most staged play after Tartuffe.The Miser by now after reading almost a dozen plays by Moliere, I can see the formula A foolish tyrannical parent develops a mania that causes him to endanger his family s welfare, bring himself to the brink of ruin and involves him in trying to arrange marriages for his offspring they very much oppose In this case Harpagon s mania is for money which he values far above his own family His monologue about his money box is memorable and funny, and the play has some wonderful comic characters Frosine was a particular favorite I wasn t fond of the denouement with its piled up coincidences, but it might be one of those things that plays better than it reads.The Would be Gentleman in this play the mania displayed by Monseiur Jourdain is to become the social equal of the nobility He s determined to marry off his daughter to one, to make one his mistress, and dying to be learned he s hired teachers in music, dancing, fencing and a philosopher From whom he famously learns that he s been talking prose for over forty years without knowing it It s a very witty and amusing play.The Mischievous Machinations of Scapin Scapin is described in the listing of characters as a trickster He s a servant but a master manipulator and schemer in the tradition of Figaro Otherwise the play is very much along the usual lines with Moliere, with tyrannical parents determined to make their children marry against their wishes And, well, as one of the characters, Hyacinthe, notes O Heavens What a lot of extraordinary coincidences.The Learned Ladies On the surface this play that pokes fun at women with scholarly aspirations and pretensions to authority may seem misogynistic But given my reading of other plays by Moliere, I think it just plays against the very idea of pretensions and deceptions both of self and those of swindlers who target the gullible and in defense of common sense over pedantry In that sense it plays as the distaff version of Tartuffe, where its the male parent who is bamboozled and almost forces a daughter to wed a charlatan And the daughter in Learned Ladies, Henriette, is among the witty Moliere heroines The Imaginary Invalid this was Moliere s last play he died of the all too real malady of tuberculosis within hours of performing the title character of the hypochondriac That reminds me a bit of Jane Austen whose last unfinished novel written while she was dying centered on hypochondriacs and quack cures And I think that says a lot about the sense of humor of both writers Argan is a great comic character such a hopeless hypochondriac he tries to force his daughter to marry a doctor just to have one on call.

  7. says:

    I only read The Misanthrope by Moli re and not his other plays for a class of mine, and happened to enjoy it a lot Basically it is a sophisticated comic drama that satirizes the hypocrisies of French aristocratic society What really surprised me, even though I read this in Danish, is the rhythm The ping pong between the characters is very well created and adds a magnificent flow to the play that carries on the reader to the very end Even though this is my very first Moli re, it really demonstrates his incredible skills as a playwright and I am very much looking forward to read of his theatrical plays.

  8. says:

    I have long held a natural aversion to plays, which extends to the poetic outings of Homer and perhaps Dante, without any deep rooted reason to do so other than a suspicion that the focus on form takes the writing too far away from my own natural zeal to express life in words always with a pulse With a loud beating heart.Yet my position was shaken with Medea which is an extremely powerful, and yet clearly poetic text and then so of late, with The Importance of Being Ernest I found some of the interplay in dialogue in that splendid work of Oscar Wilde resonating with my own haphazard attempts at producing flurries of spoken word between characters in my own writing.And with Moliere referenced by a fair handful of my favourite wordsmiths, I decided to roll his dice The plays in this novel are cunningly constructed, with humour abounding through the expose of mainly but not solely male awfulness, pride, conceit, arrogance and the ingenuity of those who play to the vanity of such horridly common traits found in humanity, to seek their own goals.What I enjoyed most of Moliere was his unerring tendency to show humanity in its naked truth, without seeking any salvation, any excuse, any hint of redemption Or judgment This is where the humour lies, in his honesty absent of moralising or any other form of condemnation yet I will also add that there is wisdom, philosophy and challenging passages which pose questions of life itself to the reader For example MUSIC MASTER There s nothing so useful in a State as music.DANCING MASTER There s nothing so necessary to men as dancing.MUSIC MASTER Without music, a State cannot subsist.DANCING MASTER Without the dance, a man can do nothing.MUSIC MASTER All the disorders, all the wars one sees in the world happen only from not learning music.DANCING MASTER All the misfortunes of mankind, all the dreadful disasters that fill the history books, the blunders of politicians and the faults of omission of great commanders, all this comes from not knowing how to dance.MONSIEUR JOURDAIN How is that MUSIC MASTER Does not war result from a lack of agreement between men MONSIEUR JOURDAIN That is true.MUSIC MASTER And if all men learned music, wouldn t that be a means of bringing about harmony and of seeing universal peace in the world MONSIEUR JOURDAIN You are right.DANCING MASTER When a man has committed a mistake in his conduct, in family affairs, or in affairs of government of a state, or in the command of an army, do we not always say, He took a bad step in such and such an affair MONSIEUR JOURDAIN Yes, that s said.DANCING MASTER And can taking a bad step result from anything but not knowing how to dance MONSIEUR JOURDAIN It s true, you are both right.DANCING MASTER It makes you see the excellence and usefulness of music and the danceFENCING MASTER As I have told you, the entire secret of fencing lies in two things to give and not to receive and as I demonstrated to you the other day, it is impossible for you to receive, if you know how to turn your opponent s sword from the line of your body This depends solely on a slight movement of the wrist, either inward or outward.MONSIEUR JOURDAIN In this way then, a man, without courage, is sure to kill his man and not be killed himself FENCING MASTER Without doubt Didn t you see the demonstration MONSIEUR JOURDAIN Yes.FENCING MASTER And thus you have seen how men like me should be considered by the State, and how the science of fencing is important than all the other useless sciences, such as dancing, music, DANCING MASTER Careful there, Monsieur swordsman Speak of the dance only with respect.MUSIC MASTER I beg you to speak better of the excellence of music.FENCING MASTER You are amusing fellows, to want to compare your sciences with mine.SCENE III Philosophy Master, Music Master, Dancing Master, Fencing Master, Monsieur Jourdain, Lackeys MONSIEUR JOURDAIN Aha Monsieur Philosopher, you come just in time with your philosophy Come, make a little peace among these people.PHILOSOPHY MASTER What s happening What s the matter, gentlemen.MONSIEUR JOURDAIN They have got into a rage over the superiority of their professions to the point of injurious words and of wanting to come to blows.PHILOSOPHY MASTER What Gentlemen, must you act this way Haven t you read the learned treatise that Seneca composed on anger Is there anything base and shameful than this passion, which turns a man into a savage beast And shouldn t reason be the mistress of all our activities My favourite of the plays was by far The Scoundrel Scapin, in some way due to the title, as I enjoy the word scoundrel its one of those words with a wondrous duality, for there can be scoundrels of both the highest and lowest order, and I often call my beloved hellhound Baby Scoundrel There is something of mischief in the word, in its sound, in its construction, close to always in its modern delivery one of the few sc words which have anything playful inherent Scabies Scabbard Scared School Scale Indeed, the first few which come to mind are anything but playful And for Moliere to double the impact by naming the protagonist Scapin SCA in the below , adds to the fun HYA Alas Why must the course of true love never run smooth Howsweet it would be to love with no link wanting in those chains whichunite two hearts.SCA How mistaken you are about this Security in love forms a veryunpleasant calm Constant happiness becomes wearisome We want upsand downs in life and the difficulties which generally beset ourpath in this world revive us, and increase our sense of pleasureSIL Why do you recklessly engage in enterprises that may bring youinto trouble SCA I delight in dangerous enterprises.SCA Such dangers never stop me, and I hate those fearful heartswhich, by dint of thinking of what may happen, never undertakeanything Scapin is a fiend, a brigand, truly a scoundrel, yet can steel himself towards the happiness of others when it suits He evokes hints of Vautrin the master schemer, the archetypal anti hero of Balzac conjuring whose zeal and ingenuity is only rivalled in classic literature by another creation of gallic root my dear brother who never was Edmund Dantes for those still stuck on Ferris Bueller and who felt they delved deeper with Holden Caulfield, I strongly urge you to seek out the fierce and expansive and adult blossoming of similar roots in the characters mentioned Dantes had huge heart, ultimate passion was forced by circumstance to adopt cunning Vautrin also had passion an odd passion which may well have leaned towards the homosexual, yet seemed to me always paternal and brutal and geared towards punishing the horrid, nourishing the rare and precious pure, Scapin is merely a wily menace, who could help or hinder on a damn whim Yet despite Moliere s playful mocking and rendition of the worst of humanity which hasn t changed a damn jot over the ages, other than it has become perhaps dumb, less guile, prone to herding he clearly admired, felt was possible, and was likely dismayed by in equal measure through his own essence seeking the same, an expression of innocence and purity in the maelstrom of the wretched commonalities of the human condition, for true love was as much a throbbing vein in his work as the conceited, arrogant, scheming legion Hints of the fairytale stream through his work.Citandre to Lucinde Will you be constant in your love for me Lucinde Will you keep your promises Citandre All my life I want nothing than to be yours, and my actions will bear witness to it always.This connection of true love prevails throughout his work It serves as a warm and hopeful beacon of innocent beauty in an otherwise rather ugly exposition of realism of the ways of the human world.I hugely enjoy this under current of the romantic souls seeking the richest wine that can be drunk, those willing to sacrifice anything and everything, to move from riches to rags, to lose their position in society for the sake of a heavenly, mutual devotion, to move the moon and earth to be as close to and as one with the home their heart finds in another, no matter the cost a love of constance which means than anything else ever could This is possible than most are led to believe, or deem viable without shedding too many perceived as meaningful layers of who they feel they are which isn t to suggest that compromise is a sin, not in the slightest, but for the realist as we all must be in order to prosper in any way to find a balance with the most sublime idealism, one must believe in true love as much as one must accept our limitations, as humans, and the world in which we live There is such amazing happiness to be found in giving oneself totally to Love As there is such agony to be found through the same endeavour Yet why live a life absent of risk, when Shangri La is possible, through entangling deeply, truly, madly openly and totally with another Why stay in the shallows, seek safety in listless numbers of Herd, when the wide open ocean is there with all its adventure, and danger and glory and magic Moliere encourages this forage into the wilderness that is our calling as thinking, feeling hearts and souls He introduces the pitfalls, the forces working against our path to happiness, but allows the stardust of immensely consuming devotion to true romance, to prevail Seek love and adventure, scheme if you must, but stay true to your goal of basking in the glow of giving your everything to another and finding the same flowing from them into your own essence.The writing is glorious, the rendition of humanity in all its ugliness and brief, fleeting moments of beauty is splendid, and regardless of whether you are already adjusted to reading plays than experiencing them performed on stage, Moliere s work is well worth your time.He will make you laugh, make you consider your own behaviour, your own weaknesses as well as strengths, and he will inspire What can we hope for From any man or woman who spends their life aiming to paint life into verse

  9. says:

    I prefer the verse translations, but a good introduction of Moliere s work

  10. says:

    I m going to use this space primarily to survey the works contained herein and give readers a sense of what they might find here That said, I can t fail to plug my review of Bermel s book on farce, which contains pretty much everything I have to say on the subject at this point It s not nearly as learned as the Bermel book I m ostensibly reviewed, but it is significantly shorter Anyway, you should consider my other review as context, inasmuch as it contains the perspective through which I read and enjoy plays such as those contained in this volume.Of all my recent reviews of farce anthologies, I m saving my favorite author for last I ve now read eight Moliere works, of which I loved five, liked one which I took turns reading aloud with my daughter , tolerated another, and hated the last Six of these are included in the Penguin anthology I m recommending here as usual, readable translations, fine endnotes, excellent introductory material, but alas, minimal verse Le malade imaginaire can be found in the Bermel anthology I ve already cited and L Avare you ll want to find on your own, as I enjoyed it the most of all the plays I read Okay, so here s the general formula for Moliere s monomania plays in each one, lovers who wish to wed are kept apart by a father bedeviled by an obsession with ______________ The lovers are aided by one or familial allies who try to talk sense to the rigid jerk, but remain frustrated until a clever ploy succeeds in separating reason from delusion And all live happily ever after I ll take these in rank order, filling in the above synopsis with the appropriate blank, and sharing a pair of excerpts for your delectation and edification personal note of the plays listed below that form the basis of this anthology, those not in boldface are ones I wouldn t bother revisiting The Miser L Avare money, of course Lots of dodges here and wheels within wheels, right up until Harpagon s final comeuppance It s hilarious and credible throughout The Would Be Gentleman Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme social prestige A minor departure from the usual formula in that Monsieur Jourdain s idee fixe renders him jolly rather than nasty, and that it is his own affaire d amour he seeks to establish he s already married, y see This is a good humoured turn all round as Monsieur Jourdain is a Falstaffian character who appreciates any sort of joke, even those played on himself The Doctor Despite Himself Not a monomania play The comedic set up here is that a brute of a lumberjack Sganarelle has been mistaken for a famous physician and an initial comeuppance beaten into service However, since the patient he needs to cure is only feigning her illness, her not so miraculous recovery confirms his genius, and the doctor thereafter placebos his way to a higher standing and drives from town legitimate practitioners and hucksters alike The biggest joke is that this turn of events proves best for all concerned, because unlike the interventions of other learned fools and frauds who ply their trade, Sganarelle s prescriptions of small doses of cheese and exercise at least do no harm Allow me some extensive quotation of this play s rapid fire patter and see if you don t fall in love with Moliere yourself Excerpts taken from Scenes II and IV of Act Two, pp 162 165 in the Penguin version The first bit opens with the concerned father of the patient Geronte greeting Sganarelle Geronte s the straight man, of course Now imagine this reluctant doctor as played by Groucho Marx.GERONTE Sir, I m delighted to see you in my house We re in great need of your help.SGANARELLE in doctor s gown and steeple hat Hippocrates says that we should both keep our hats on.GERONTE Hippocrates says that SGANARELLE Yes.GERONTE In what chapter please SGANARELLE In his chapter er on hats.GERONTE If Hippocrates says so, we must do it.SGANARELLE My dear doctor, having heard of the remarkable things GERONTE May I ask whom you are talking to SGANARELLE You.GERONTE But I m not a doctor.SGANARELLE You aren t a doctor GERONTE No.SGANARELLE picks up a cudgel and beats him as he was beaten Honestly GERONTE Honestly Ow Ow Ow SGANARELLE You are now That s all the qualifications I ever had.This is followed by some further foolishness Sganarelle chases the skirts chest of a wet nurse until Geronte is given opportunity to introduce his sick child.SGANARELLE Is this the patient GERONTE Yes, she s my only daughter It would break my heart if she were to die.SGANARELLE She mustn t do anything of the kind She can t die without a doctor s prescription All of which really goes to show that the Marx Brothers vaudevillian schtick has a long and distinguished ancestry The Imaginary Invalid Le malade imaginaire hypochondria For , see my discussion in my review of the Bermel anthology The Misanthrope hypocrisy really, a big hissy fit about others affected manners As in Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, the formula is slightly altered such that the exasperated Celimene is the thwarted lover, the subject of whose affection is, ironically, a shameless frivol and flirt He can t help himself, except that he can, and exiles himself to the country to prove it Celimene s such a sourpuss that his attractiveness to the ladies fails to leap from the page Suffice it to say that the play struggles to work if the audience has trouble swallowing the premise This is also one of those works that reads tragically if Celimene is portrayed too sympathetically the audience will join the hero in despairing for humanity For an expansion of my thoughts on this, read my opinions on the Janus like relationship between farce and tragedy Tartuffe The Hypocrite a con artist s fake piety This wicked play wastes two full acts hyping the eponymous villain before introducing him, but when he arrives, watch out Tartuffe will leave you squirming The play ends with an outrageous regis ex machina which makes sense once you know that royal patronage proved to be the only way Moliere could get this particular work staged Put finger quotes around the tacked on finale, and Tartuffe reads as straight on tragedy about the cruel implications of confusing faith with credulity Such Foolish Affected Ladies the tropes of soap opera romances Only it s not the father who is twisted, but his silly daughters This is basically a one act with only enough material to sustain a skit, and is an early Moliere play in which the characters are close to cardboard cutouts Those Learned Ladies women s right to education, although the impediment here is the mother, not the go along to get along father I think Moliere really intended to mock faux intellectual pretension and the emperor s new clothiers who peddle it and would have succeeded better had he hewed closely to Patience than to Princess Ida or considered the way that Shakespeare spoofed academia I enjoyed a production of Love s Labour s Lost in which matching trios of young men and women pretended to foreswear love to devote themselves to study in closer proximity to one another, naturally However, Moliere s is just an ugly work of chauvinism that actually uses its female protagonist to advocate the cliche that women best be left barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen.Considering French farce as a whole, I confess to being a big Moliere fan From the 19th century, my favorites remain any libretti that Jacques Offenbach has set to music From the 20th century well, the recent past has fortunately not winnowed down all the various farcical offerings from stage, screen, and broadcast to allow any kind of thoroughgoing sample, but Oh, alright, I ll confess that in addition to the other works cited above, after Jean Paul Sartre and Irish ex pat Samuel Beckett my taste in turns primarily entirely to farces by native English speakers I also have a preference for satire, which is not to say that I see firewalls between genres George Abbott Woody Allen Charlie Chaplin Nora Ephron William Goldsmith Harold Ramis Not a complete list by any means.Still, if you re looking to sample a variety of French farces by different authors, I think Albert Bermel s and Eric Bentley s respective collections the best places to begin I enjoyed half of Bermel s and two thirds of Bentley s samples In entering this review, and my respective reviews of Bentley, Bermel, three Feydeau anthologies, and probably Plautus and Terence anthologies of whose works I am reading at the time of posting this , you can look for me to include brief synopses of most of the plots found within and at least one excerpt of representative dialogue.

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