Jean Baptiste Poquelin de Moliere

Jean Baptiste Poquelin de Moliere

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Jean Baptiste Poquelin de Moliere


Jean Baptiste Poquelin de Moliere was born in 1622 in Paris. Later in life, Moliere graduated with a law degree but then the twenty-one year old Jean Baptiste got caught up in the theatre. His acting company toured for fifteen years through the provinces where Moliere was exposed, and greatly influenced by, the Italian Commedia. In the course of his fifty-one years, Moliere wrote some thirty-two plays been assimilated into every form of comic drama that we know, be it the simple character sketch, the cartoon, the situation comedy, or the farce. One of the greatest works of Moliere is "The Miser."
The Miser (1668) is considered one of Moliere's great "character" plays. This comedy takes place around Mid-19th century in Paris. The setting of the play is Paris, Harpagon's house. The story revolves around Harpagon and his family. Harpagon is a rich man that has two kids named Elise and Cleante. Elise is in love with Valere that works for her father, and Cleante is in love with a girl named Marianne. Both Elise and Cleante are afraid to tell their dad and others that they are in love. Fearing that everyone, specially their father would disapprove and be outraged. Therefore, they keep everything a secret. However, later in the play Cleante finds out that his father is in love with the same girl he is in love with, and to make matters more interesting, his father wants to marry the same girl. The story goes on and on about how each of them is going to marry the girl first, and on the side there is Elise and her Lover waiting to tell everyone about their secret love.
Moliere has a talent for taking a single trait and placing it at the center of the action, making the entire play revolve around that characteristic. The Miser, Harpagon, confuses love and money through the course of the play, which provides a fun platform for twisting the language of one into the language of the other. Much of the plot centers around a money box that Harpagon has planted out in the garden. When the box is stolen, he accuses Valere of having taking the money, and yet, Valere confuses the issue, thinking that Harpagon has found out that he is having a secret affair with his daughter. They spend the scene arguing about two different things.

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The Miser is a very funny and entertaining play. It has many amusing parts that make the play extra funny, such as the level of selfishness and paranoia of Harpagon and his money. I personally thought that the play was really fun to read, and had many parts that showed what people would do for love or money. The Miser made me realize Moliere's importance in France and what a huge impact he was on French comedy.
Moliere's plays were greatly influenced by the Commedia dell'arte, and many of his plays are farces featuring the Commedia dell'arte characters. As you can see Moliere is a very talented writer and "The Miser," could be considered one of the greatest works in French comedy ever.
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