The Misanthrope by Molière
(Dover Thrift Editions)

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Synopsis

Molière understood profoundly what makes us noble, pathetic, outrageous and funny, and in his splendid comedies satirized human folly to perfection. One of the best of his plays — and one of the greatest of all comedies — is The Misanthrope, first performed in 1666, when the King of France himself had assumed patronage of Molière's company, and the actor/playwright was at the height of his career.
Spotlighting the absurdities of social and literary pretension, The Misanthrope shows us a man who is quick to criticize the hypocrisies, inconsistencies and faults of others, yet remains blind to his own. As "the misanthrope" grows more and more irritable with others, the play becomes more and more entertaining, even as a happy ending for the hero seems less and less likely.
 

About Molière

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The French dramatist Moliere was born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin on January 15, 1622, in Paris. The son of a wealthy tapestry merchant, he had a penchant for the theater from childhood. In 1636, he was sent off to school at the Jesuit College of Claremont and in 1643, he embarked upon a 13-year career touring in provincial theater as a troupe member of Illustre Theatre, a group established by the family Bejarts. He married a daughter of the troupe, Armande Bejart, in 1662 and changed his name to Moliere. The French King Louis XIV, becoming entranced with the troupe after seeing a performance of The Would-Be Gentleman, lent his support and charged Moliere with the production of comedy ballets in which he often used real-life human qualities as backdrops rather than settings from church or state. Soon, Moliere secured a position at the Palais-Royal and committed himself to the comic theater as a dramatist, actor, producer, and director. Moliere is considered to be one of the preeminent French dramatists and writers of comedies; his work continues to delight audiences today. With L'Ecole des Femmes (The School for Wives) Moliere broke with the farce tradition, and the play, about the role played by women in society and their preparation for it, is regarded by many as the first great seriocomic work of French literature. In Tartuffe (1664), Moliere invented one of his famous comic types, that of a religious hypocrite, a character so realistic that the king forbade public performance of the play for five years. Moliere gave psychological depth to his characters, engaging them in facial antics and slapstick comedy, but with an underlying pathos. Jean Baptiste Moliere died in 1673.
 
Published March 19, 1998 by Oberon Books. 92 pages
Genres: Arts & Photography, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

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