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The misanthrope by Molière
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The misanthrope (edition 1992)

by Molière

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987158,696 (3.62)15
Member:jonathan.warman
Title:The misanthrope
Authors:Molière
Info:New York : London : Dover ; Constable, 1992.
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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The Misanthrope by Molière

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» See also 15 mentions

English (14)  French (1)  English (15)
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
"... Everywhere I find nothing but base flattery, injustice, self-interest, deceit, roguery. I cannot bear it any longer; I am furious; and my intention is to break with all mankind.” – Alceste, Act 1, Scene 1

I started reading the book before election results; after the elections, these words take on a whole new meaning.

Alceste is the protagonist and the official “misanthrope” of the story. A straight-shooter and brutally candid, he criticizes the love verses of a fellow nobleman, Oronte, who takes him to court over such an insult. Meanwhile, the reader learns Alceste, Oronte, Acaste, and Clitandre all favor one twenty-year-old socialite – Célimène, who is charismatically vocal and a flirt. Meanwhile, Célimène’s jealous older friend, Arsinoé, pines for Alceste and adds salt to every wound she can find. Two characters, Philinte (friend of Alceste) and Éliante (cousin of Célimène) were the only two honest and faithful’s, who were rewarded with each other’s love.

Molière’s 1666 ‘The Misanthrope’ play is more focused on character development than plot progression. Having had two previous plays (‘Tartuffe’ and ‘Dom Juan’) banned by the French government, this one is typically viewed as one of Molière’s more restrained tales even though once again, the nobility is ridiculed (who then complains to the government). Officially a comedy, I must admit that I did not laugh once; I even winced. Reading this, I have visions of Kirsten Dunst in ‘Marie Antoninette’ in the role of Célimène. Surrounded by her admirers, Célimène criticizes various acquaintances as they all laugh at her verbal abuses for entertainment. To their surprise, dun-dun-dun, Célimène has a few choice words about them too, and they all abandon her. Despite Alceste with his misanthropic tendencies being the supposed humor of this comedy, I found some of his words as well as those of Philinte’s to be thought-provoking. When the world is going haywire, does it make sense to retreat and do a ‘Captain Fantastic’? As for Célimène, not an angel herself, she took the blunt of the hate, even though everyone had encouraged and endorsed her behavior. All in all, except for the last scene, this play had saddened me.

Some quotes:

On love:
Éliante: “…in the beloved all things become lovable. They think their faults perfections, and invent sweet terms to call them by. The pale one vies with the jessamine in fairness; another, dark enough to frighten people, become an adorable brunette; the lean one has a good shape and is lithe; the stout one has a portly and majestic bearing; the slattern, who has few charms, passes under the name of a careless beauty; the giantess seems a very goddess in their sight; the dwarf is an epitome of all the wonders of Heaven; the proud one has a soul worthy of a diadem; the artful brims with wit; the silly one is very good-natured; the chatterbox is good-tempered; and the silent one modest and reticent. Thus a passionate swain loves even the very faults of those of whom he is enamored.”

On virtue:
Philinte: “All human failings give us, in life, the means of exercising our philosophy. It is the best employment for virtue; and if probity reigned everywhere, if all hearts were candid, just, and tractable, most of our virtues would be useless to us, inasmuch as their functions are to bear, without annoyance, the injustice of others in our good cause; and just in the same way as a heart full of virtue.” ( )
  varwenea | Nov 13, 2016 |
A rather dark comedy, which reinforced my dislike of the main female character, which I acquired after seeing this play performed at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Though I adored the iambic pentameter. ( )
  ThothJ | Dec 3, 2015 |
A rather dark comedy, which reinforced my dislike of the main female character, which I acquired after seeing this play performed at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Though I adored the iambic pentameter. ( )
  ThothJ | Dec 3, 2015 |
A rather dark comedy, which reinforced my dislike of the main female character, which I acquired after seeing this play performed at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Though I adored the iambic pentameter. ( )
  ThothJ | Dec 3, 2015 |
While Alceste is certainly a 1600s Dolph Adomian, the play doesn't have enough build and it sort of flounders. It's another issue with old humor not being effective enough in modern times. I definitely approve of abandoning society to live in the forest though. ( )
  trilliams | May 30, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (65 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Molièreprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bishop, MorrisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bouton, Charles P.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Enzensberger, Hans MagnusÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grebanier, Bernard D.N.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jasinski, RenéForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manninen, OttoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mulrine, StephenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
van Laun, HenriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wendel, W.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilbur, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wood, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

Classic Comedies by Maurice Charney

Dom Juan / Misanthrope / Tartuffe by Molière

Misanthrope / Miser / Tartuffe by Molière

Misanthrope / Tartuffe by Molière

Bourgeois Gentleman / Imaginary Invalid / Misanthrope / Tartuffe by Molière

Bourgeois Gentleman / Imaginary Invalid / Misanthrope / Miser / School for Husbands / School for Wives / Tartuffe by Molière

Imaginary Invalid / Misanthrope / Miser / School for Wives / Tartuffe by Molière

Bourgeois Gentleman / Dom Juan / Imaginary Invalid / Learned Ladies / Misanthrope / Miser / Tartuffe by Molière

Dom Juan / Misanthrope / Miser / Pretentious Young Ladies / School for Wives / Tartuffe by Molière

Bourgeois Gentleman / Misanthrope / Miser by Molière

Misanthrope / Pretentious Young Ladies / Tartuffe by Molière

Doctor in Spite of Himself / Misanthrope / Miser / Pretentious Young Ladies / School for Wives / Tartuffe by Molière

Doctor in Spite of Himself / Misanthrope / Miser / School for Wives / Tartuffe by Molière

Doctor in Spite of Himself / Misanthrope / School for Wives / Tartuffe by Molière

Four comedies by Molière

Dom Juan / Misanthrope by Molière

Imaginary Invalid / Misanthrope by Molière

Bourgeois Gentleman / Imaginary Invalid / Learned Ladies / Misanthrope / Miser / Scapin / School for Wives / Tartuffe by Molière

Amphitryon / Bourgeois Gentleman / Dom Juan / Imaginary Invalid / Misanthrope / Miser / Tartuffe by Molière

Forced Marriage / Learned Ladies / Misanthrope by Molière

Bourgeois Gentleman / Doctor in Spite of Himself / Imaginary Invalid / Learned Ladies / Misanthrope / Miser / Scapin by Molière

The Misanthrope and Other French Classics (Eric Bentley's Dramatic Repertoire ; V. 3) by Eric Bentley

Théatre complet : tome III by Molière

The Bedford Introduction to Drama by Lee A. Jacobus

Nine Great Plays: From Aeschylus to Eliot (Revised Edition) by Leonard F. Dean

Comedies of Molière by Molière

A Treasury of the Theatre; an Anthology of Great Plays From Aeschylus to Hebbel by Philo M. Jr. Buck

The Misanthrope and Other Plays by Molière

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486270653, Paperback)

One of the best of Molière's plays — and one of the greatest of all comedies — spotlighting the absurdities of social and literary pretension, focusing on a man who is quick to criticize the faults of others, yet remains blind to his own. Publisher's Note.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:04 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Razor-sharp wit inflames a competitive game of survival in the salons of 17th century France where, in this world of "finest appearances," one man's blunt honesty shatters his society's delicate web of manners.

(summary from another edition)

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