Molière’s Impostor of the Age of Enlightenment
Born in Paris, Jean-Babtiste Molière was the eldest child of Marie Cresse Poquelin and Jean Poquelin, a well-to-do upholsterer who was favored by the court (Reisman). Molière attended Jesuit College of Clermont, briefly studying law, he became a notary. Molière would inherit his father 's position with the court. Molière passion for theater developed early, he met and became romantically involved with Madeleine Bejart an actress. Madeleine family of theater performers strongly influenced Molière, who renounced his royal appointment to pursue a career in theatrics. Molière lost all his worldly pleasures once he had given up the court position, and would struggle as an actor for some time, even in poisoned for debts (Reisman 2).
Molière 's style was dramatic, theatrical and comic, but his roots lie in France, he was greatly influenced by his interaction with the Italian Commedia dell 'Arte (Pergolizzi 1, 2). These performers were known for both their extemporary speech specializing in impious burlesque and extremely physical performances (1). Though he received the applause of the court, Molière 's satires drew criticisms from moralists and the Roman Catholic Church who forced the king to ban his works (Lawall 10). Molière first comedy The Affected Young Ladies, a portrayal of arrogance in Parisian society was so on target that angered many aristocrats (Reisman 2). In the article written by Rosemary Reisman on “Molière” she talks about him developing his own kind of comedy:
Molière depended for his plots on burlesque, with its elaborate schemes of deception, mistaken identity, disguise, and misdirection. The commedia dell’arte, however, suggested possibilities for stylization in production and even in dialogue (Reisman 3).
Moliere’s play Tartuffe, through the actions of his characters demonstrates that human gullibility, hypocrisy, and corruption were a major part of the Church during this period. The character
Cited: Molière. "Tartuffe." Lawall, Sarah. The Norton Anthology of Western Literature. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2006. Pergolizzi, Carl Milo. "INTRODUCTION." Moliere Four Plays. 7-11. Branden Publishing, 1999. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 14 August 2011. Reisman, Rosemary M. Canfield. “Molière.” Magill’s Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition(2009): 1-8. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 14 Aug. 2011.