Who is Moliere?

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (French pronunciation: ​[ʒɑ̃ batist pɔklɛ̃]; 15 January 1622 (baptised) – 17 February 1673), known by his stage name Molière (UK: /ˈmɒliɛər, ˈmoʊl-/, US: /moʊlˈjɛər, ˌmoʊliˈɛər/, French: [mɔljɛʁ]), was a French playwright, stage director, dramatic theoretician, actor, and poet, widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the French language and world literature of 17th century. His influence is such that the French language is often referred to as the "language of Molière”.

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As a comic dramatist he ranks with such other distinctive masters of the genre as Aristophanes, Plautus, and George Bernard Shaw. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed at the Comédie-Française more often than those of any other playwright today.

His extensive works include comedies, farces, tragicomedies, comédie-ballets, and more. He composed 12 of the most durable and penetratingly satirical full-length comedies of all time, some in rhyming verse, some in prose, as well as six shorter farces and comedies.

His plays compose a portrait of all levels of 17th-century French society and are marked by their good-humoured and intelligent mockery of human vices, vanities, and follies. In a theatrical period, the early baroque, dominated by the formal neoclassical tragedies of Mairet, Rotrou, du Ryer, Pierre and Thomas Corneille, and Racine, Molière affirmed the potency of comedy as a serious, flexible art form. He also wrote a number of pastorals and other indoor and outdoor divertissements, such as his popular comedy-ballets, that depended on a formidable array of stage machinery (mostly imported from Italy) capable of providing swift and startling changes of sumptuous scenic effects.

Despite his success, he never ceased to act and direct. Taken ill during a performance, he died of a hemorrhage within a day and was denied holy burial. He is considered the greatest French dramatist and the father of modern French comedy.

 

Molière's principal short plays (in one or two acts) are: The Jealous Husband (1645?), The Flying Doctor (1648?), Sganarelle (1660), The Rehearsal at Versailles (1663), and The Forced Marriage (1664); the longer plays (in three or five acts) include The School for Husbands (1661), The School for Wives (1662), Tartuffe (1664), Don Juan (1665), The Misanthrope (1666), The Doctor in Spite of Himself (1666), Amphitryon (1668), The Miser (1668), George Dandin (1668), The Bourgeois Gentleman (1670), Scapin (1671), The Learned Ladies (1672), and The Imaginary Invalid (1673).