For several years of his life, he resided in Lyons, France, where he was greatly influenced by travelling Italian companies performing Commedia Dell’Arte. This influence is expressed in his early plays, which were mainly farces adapted from the classical Italian model. His performing style, like that used for Italian theatre, was animated However, unlike Italian theatre at the time, Molière’s plays contained a level of biting social satire. For example, The Miser is typical of Molière’s plays in its reliance upon Commedia Dell’Arte for stock characters and comedy routines. The play contains many examples of slapstick humour and fantastic situations. Like Roman comedy, characters fail to communicate; they involve themselves in many unpleasant situations, which they otherwise could have avoided. At the end they do not solve their own problems, but fate intervenes and solves them in much the same way that god intervened in some of the early Greek plays. Despite what might be considered dramatic weaknesses in a modern play, The Miser still provides fun for audiences, and without a doubt was highly entertaining to those who saw it during the 17th century. The play also makes a serious statement in...
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...cally to less formally constrained entertainments. While the classical ideal set its sights on the universal, they welcomed plays which satirised contemporary French manners and topical events, like Moliere’s.
Molière always played his own leading roles, and his plays often contained autobiographical elements. For instance, in The School for husbands, an early satire, he borrowed from a variety of sources for the plot, but also ridiculed himself for his marriage at the age of forty to a girl less than half his age- Armande Bejart.
Molière’s rise to fame began when the opportunity arose for his company to perform before the King, Louis XIV. The performance secured the favour of the King’s brother Philippe, duc d’Orleans. Philippe’s approval and patronage lasted 7 years until the King himself took over the company, which, since 1665, was known as ‘la troupe du Roi’.
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