Don Juan

ISBN: 015601310X
ISBN 13: 9780156013109
By: Molière Richard Wilbur

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Classics Drama Fiction French French Literature Play Plays Theatre To Read

About this book

Moliere's classic tale of the Seducer of Seville, an uproariously funny story flawlessly translated by the Pulitzer Prize winning poet.Don Juan, the "Seducer of Seville," originated as a hero-villain of Spanish folk legend, is a famous lover and scoundrel who has made more than a thousand sexual conquests. One of Moliere's best-known plays, Don Juan was written while Tartuffe was still banned on the stages of Paris, and shared much with the outlawed play. Modern directors transformed Don Juan in every new era, as each director finds something new to highlight in this timeless classic. Richard Wilbur's flawless translation will be the standard for generations to come, as have his translations of Moliere's other plays. Witty, urbane, and poetic in its prose, Don Juan is, most importantly, as funny now as it was for audiences when it was first presented.About the Author:PRichard Wilbur, National Book Award winner, is one of America's great living poets. He has won every major literary award (including two Pulitzer Prizes) and has a devoted poetry following, and is anthologized in every important volume on the subject. He is a member of the American Institute of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Academy of American Poets. He has written, translated, and/or edited twenty-five books.

Reader's Thoughts


la dimostrazione di come un'opera riuscisse a nobilitare anche i testi più poveri


Really funny and very easy to read.Don Juan is a super skeptical and reckless creature, he does not deny himself the pleasures of life however they may hurt others; whenever he "falls in love" (which happens quite frequently since he "falls in love" for every woman he sees), he commits himself to winning the fair lady's trust and to wed her. However dishonest he may be, he is a sciolist, a good speaker and convincer. Of course, once they get married, the passion is gone and he flees onto his next temporary affair with a new lover, leaving the poor girl desolated.Morality is the main theme of this classic play, as Don Juan, having no respect whatsoever towards any kind of superior force and, moreover, mocking it with all his might, is not afraid of suffering from any consequences that may come from his acts."Si le Ciel me donne un avis, il faut qu'il parle un peu plus clairement, s'il veut que je l'entende." (5th Act, Scene 4)Sganarelle fears for his master's faith and pities him and, as long as Don Juan is away, he makes sure to inform everyone of how terrible and untrustworthy he is, but he then cowards at his sight and pretends to agree with his conduct and thoughts, except for some funny dialogues between the two of them, where Sganarelle tries to prove his point to a man who can't be moved, even though he is a terrible debater.It comes all the way from 1665, but the plot and the characters' features prevail ruling. It's a classic, after all.


Le moins qu'on puisse dire c'est que Molière a des couilles d'acier d'avoir présenté cette pièce de théâtre pendant le règne de Louis XIV. Une grande chance que Manzarin est décédé quelques années avant.


کتابی رو با این عنوان از ترجمه های مرحوم منصوری خوندم . نمیدونم که اون کتاب همین کتاب هست یا نه و اگه هست چقدرش رو مرحوم منصوری به صلاحدید شخصی! جرح و تعدیل! و اضافه!!! کردن. اما تنها تاثیری که این کتاب رو زندگی من گذاشت این بود که باعث بشه الان این یه ستاره رو بهش بدم و شاید دیگه هیچ وقت به این فکر نکنم که من یه همچین کتابی رو هم خوندم

Frederik Vigil hansen

den er faktisk meget sjov at læse men tror den er bedre opført

Dorottya Bacsi

3.5I am on the fence about this play. There are things which I found genial in it, and things, when I was uhmmm, really? Please, no.I really did not like how some parts felt totally episodical and not essential to the storyline. I mean, I get that the crookedness of Don Juan had to be explained, but that many examples were too much (like the one with the money lender). I also thought some of the laughs were really cheap, like the one where the jokes was on Charlotte's black hands. I had some problems with the structure as well, some key elements were introduced in a really-really cheap, not thoughtful and weird way, like the spirit or the story of the commander's death.On the other hands, I really liked the ending on all levels, and I give props to Molière for writing as complex characters as Don Juan and Sganarelle. While reading at first about Don Juan acting nicely, I was like, noooooo, that would be so cheap and unrealistic... and then, bam! it's all acting. Amazing. I also loved Sganarelle's valuable thoughts and fear to act... I mean, his behaviour was hilarious - in the best way possible. He has some nice beliefs, but he's just too cowardly and he cares more about himself than standing up for his opinion. I don't know whether all of Molière's Sganarelle characters I like this (I do happen to know that he's a commedia dell'arte staple character, but nothing more) on purpose, but I liked how I could match this Sganarelle with the title character in his play Sganarelle :).

Kira Budge

Got bored. *Didn't finish*


A great version of the Don Juan myth. Apparently a source for Mozart's Don Giovanni opera. Don Juan comes across as not only sexy and dashing, but erudite and clever as well. A classic Moliere play in the vein of Tartuffe. Read it and weep from laughing.

Badriya Alamri

من أروع ما قرأتُ في المسرحيّةِ .. ناقش قضايا عدّة في مسرحيّتِهِ ..المسرحيّة تتحدّث عن دون جوان شابٌّ من طبقةِ النُّبلاء ..مزواج ... عبث كثيرا بشرفِ العوائِلِ ، وغرّر ببناتِها ، يسلبُ كلّ من تعجبهُ من يدي خطيبها أو زوجها .. يجدّف كثيرا على السّماء ..لا يؤمن إلّا بـ أربعة زائِد أربعة يساوي ثمانية فقط هذا هو ما يؤمن بِهِ في الحياة ...عاقٌّ بوالدهِ الّذي لا ينفكُّ يعاتِبه على أفعالِهِ المشينةِ ...ورغم رغبة الكثيرين بالانتقامِ منهُ إلّا أنّ ذلِك لم يُغيّر فيهِ شيئا ، بل جعله يبتدعُ طريقةً جديدة وهي النِّفاق...في نهاية المسرحيّة انتقمت السّماء منهُ ...


I am surprised at how much I liked this play. I was laughing all the way (even though the French was confusing sometimes but I get that it was meant to be that way since there were a lot of made up words). The ending was really clever and I loved it!

Alejandro Teruel

Don Juan, like Ulysses or Dr.Faust, represents an archetype which has inspired numerous authors to work and rework variations on a basic story. It is fascinating to compare the different retellings, and in this case, how thin the line between comedy and tragedy can be.The first memorable version of Don Juan in literature is generally attributed to the Spanish playwright Tirso de Molina El burlador de Sevilla y el convidado de piedra written in 1630 where he appears as an insatiable, arrogant and aristocratic seductor. In the play he seduces noblewomen and commoners alike, even if engaged to be married, kills the father of one of his conquests and is dragged into hell by a marble statue of the killed man. Tirso de Molina also makes use of a servant as an interesting dramatic device: part comic foil, and part narrator, Cataliñón (Sganarelle in Moliere, Leporello in Mozart´s operatic version) which helps the author keep Don Juan at a (psychological) distance and in perspective.Molière´s Dom Juan ou le festin de Pierre (1665) follows Tirso de Molina´s broad outlines, reducing the number of depicted seductions, perhaps adding a little to the character´s recklessness and certainly to his cynicism and hypocrisy, while playing up the comic and clownish character of the servant (Sganarelle) who is left alone on stage after Don Juan disappears into hell crying out for his lost wages. This fine play includes some outstanding funny and satirical moments. Lorenzo Da Ponti, Mozart´s librettist for Don Giovanni (1787) provides a much tighter and more satisfactory ending.Wikipedia ( lists almost a hundred works derived from the story of Don Juan including English, German, Russian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Danish, Swedish and American plays, stories, poems, essays, operas, ballets and movies by figures such as Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Carlo Goldoni, Gluck, E. T. A. Hoffman, Lord Byron, Pushkin, Alexandre Dumas, Balzac, Prosper Mérimée, José de Espronceda, Liszt, Kierkegaard, José Zorrilla, Baudelaire, Richard Strauss, Paul Heyse, George Bernard Shaw, Valle-Inclán, Ortega y Gasset, Apollinaire, Aleksandr Blok, Edmond Rostand, Azorín, Karel Čapek , Miguel de Unamuno, Enrique Jardiel Poncela, Jacinto Benavente, V.S. Pritchett, Max Frisch, Ingmar Bergman, George Bataille, Henry de Montherlant, Derek Walcott, Peter Handke and José Saramago.


Timeless. Many of the things, if not all of them are very actual for a book way ahead of its time, and it's something logical for a book that is about human nature. But it's always done in that unique and humorous way that Molière has. Above all, it allows us to laugh at our own attitudes and that's something to consider, but we shouldn't forget the moral effect that is way too overlooked in today's parodies. As a great fan of Molière's work this comedy hasn't disappointed me at all. Very recomendable.

Scott Rorrison

I found this version in an old book store and paid about £1.50 for it, what a bargain! It's safe to say that now being introduced to Moliere, I will be reading a lot more of his works. I read this play right after Tirso's version; I couldn't believe how modern and fresh it was in comparison, even though it's only 30 years younger. I love the duality of the hero; on the one hand he is despicable, but you can't help loving him. He is the archetypal tragic hero, he is too intense, too resolute; he says that if he had a thousands hearts he would give 'em all. However, he is very dangerous, I found myself sympathising, agreeing with his philosophies, which, I believe, lie at the heart of the human spirit. On a rudimentary level this play is a very accessible, easy and fun romp, however, the multi-generic mode makes it difficult to gauge what Moliere was trying to do. It is at once: a morality play, a social satire, and a tragic-comedy; it often seems that the characters are being mocked by comic undercutting, at other moments it seems that hypocrisy is applauded and religion is being attacked. All-in-all, like all good literary legends, Moliere's Don Juan is enjoyable, easy, and complex; it provides a lot of food for thought.


"Life is a theatre" says Don Juan somewhere towards the end of the play, and I totally agree it. This is one of the few ate from Moliere that it is not a comedy and also do not have a happy ending. This is natural according to the believes of the time when the play was written, that required a strict moral behavior. Nowadays, this is changed and Don Juan type is not anymore uncommon.My copy of this book is in Romanian.


The translator notes that the “pervasive ambiguity of the work, which offended the devout of Moliere’s day, is for [contemporary audiences] a source of richness and nuance.”I fail to see the nuance or ambiguity in the play. It seems a rather tired, trite morality play. Yes, Don Juan is reprehensible. He is a sociopath. Everyone in the play condemns his behavior. He’s the stereotypical evil doer (i.e., the amoral/immoral atheist/materialist/skeptic). So where is the ambiguity? The amazing thing to me is that this play was banned in Moliere’s lifetime. (What would they have thought of Richard III or Macbeth or Tamburlaine?) Christopher Marlowe’s Faustus (or Goethe’s, for that matter) is a much more nuanced/ambiguous (and thus more dangerous) presentation of evil. This play is not without its charms. It's quite amusing in places (as you’d expect from Moliere). Don Juan’s repartee with Sganarelle (how do you pronounce that?) and the other characters is amusing. Just don’t expect any complicated portrayal of good and evil. Although the plot is dark, the general tone is very light and superficial.

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