Le Misanthrope

ISBN: 2070415007
ISBN 13: 9782070415007
By: Molière

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Classic Classics Currently Reading Drama Fiction French French Literature Plays Theatre To Read

About this book

Rêver de vivre dans un désert. Détester tous les hommes, et plus ou moins les femmes... Faire son coléreux dès que l'occasion se présente. Refuser la moindre concession à la société. En un mot, être Alceste. Une hauteur d'âme respectable et qui impose le respect ; mais peut-on fréquenter un tel homme sans le railler ? Un dilemme que les autres protagonistes de la comédie de Molière rencontrent, y compris la coquette Célimène.L'accompagnement critique met en place les règles de la grande comédie et l'usage que Molière en fait. L'acte d'exposition est étudié en détail. Les morceaux de bravoure (la tirade d'Alceste, la scène des portraits) donnent lieu à des lectures méthodiques. La confrontation de deux frontispices du Misanthrope propose une lecture d'images originale.Comédie (XVIIe siècle) recommandée pour les classes de lycée. Texte intégral.

Reader's Thoughts

Maan Kawas

A very beautiful play by the great French playwright Moliere that shows his wittiness as well as mastery of use of language and depiction of characters! The play addresses a very important social aspect in human nature in general- although it seems to give hints to the French Society then – which is social hypocrisy and gossiping. The protagonist Alceste seems so rigid in his attitude against hypocrisy and doubled-faced people, which is reflected in his intolerance toward such a behavior in others. This strict attitude causes him trouble as well as creates enemies to him. The other key point in this play is the conflict between Alceste’s beliefs and emotions (his love to Celimene), which demonstrates the complex nature of love and its irrationality in some cases. His beloved Celimene is involved in this abominable hypocrisy and gossiping, nevertheless he cannot overcome his love toward her. It seems that Moliere wanted to say that in order to live in a society it is good to be honest and avoid hypocrisy, but it is also so important to be tactful; moreover, it a little non-harmful hypocrisy seems to be acceptable; thus the main issues seems to be the balance in behavior.


The french version of the play I ADORED. The English version was just so-so--the rhyming couplets were really forced--it's hard to take a play seriously when it sounds like Dr. Seuss. Keep in mind, this IS a French play, so there's a lot of talking and not very much action (most of the action takes place off stage). I half wonder if it should only be seen in French--this play has much delight in the French language as Shakespeare has in the English. Wouldn't Shakespeare be somehow. . .cheaper. . .if translated?


I tend to side more with critics who deem this play a comedy rather than a tragicomedy. Molière refused to conform with the traditional comedic structure of his time, and ended his play by ending the relationship of the central couple... and I'm thankful for that. Alceste's exhausting, relentless railing of mankind's hypocrisy and feigned sincerity is juxtaposed with Célimène's desperate attachment to a society of individuals she finds repulsive - where knowing the right person is important only to create reputation - to illustrate that total honesty and social compromise do not easily co-exist. These characters were not meant to end up together; their love for one another is meant to be poisonous and, in Célimène's case, artificial. The reconciliation of these two characters would have completely altered Molière's intended message, so I strongly disagree with readers who wish for a different ending.The occasional zingers spread throughout the play helped to tame my rising irritation for the characters. The rising action became dull and monotonous at times, but I was satisfied again by the end as Alceste was shrugged off by the other characters, forcing him to act on his big talk of running away from pathetic humanity. Definitely more comedic than I was expecting, but you have to remember this was written in 1666, people.

Ala'a Muhammad

The main reason why I liked this play is that I can relate to it, and it is really funny xD This comedy of manner takes place in France the 17th century while im here, KSA, the 21st century.I also love the way the characters are presented and may I announce my latest OTP; Alceste and Philinte <3

Lady Danielle

Why has it taken me so long to read this? What entertainment! Hilarious, dramatic entertainment! I'm sorry I'm gushing a little too much, but I was not expecting this to be so funny and good. After watching Alceste à Bicyclette (thank you again to a classmate of mine from French for the recommendation), I planned on reading The Misanthrope and Molière's other works. I'm delighted that I did. Every time I thought things were going to calm down with its dramatics, it kept escalating more, and more, and more. Every Scene, every Act, every word that came out of Alceste's mouth (and a few other characters') was amusing. Perhaps I'm not taking this in like others or reading this Play like how it's supposed to be read, but frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. I really want to see this play in action--on Broadway . . . and done well.I definitely see myself reading this over and over again. Act's III and V are my favourites. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Pre-review:Literally my expressions (in order) after finishing this.Short rambling to come... when my cheeks stop hurting from laughing and smiling with amusement too much.


Molière, or Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, satirizes french 17th century social hypocrisy. The main character despises all forms of false, insincere remarks and thinks people’s pride should be about honesty and not good behavior and proper welcome. The comical situations that arises are a consequence of such an opinion. He gets into trouble for being truthfully honest, which border on rudeness and earn him enemies. Spoilers!The funniest thing is that the woman who might be the worst of them all, who loves gossip and talking behind people’s backs, is the one he is smitten with, and of course he hates her behavior as much as he hates his own feelings.End of spoilers!Moliere’s writing is darkly humoristic and delightful. About esteem:"There's precious little satisfaction in the most glorious of reputations if you find you have to share it with the whole universe. Esteem must be founded on some sort of preference. Bestow it on everybody and it ceases to have any meaning at all." - AlcesteAbout friendship:"Indeed it is a profanation of the word to use it on every occasion." - AlcesteAbout authors:"The only people who can be excused for unleashing a bad book on the world are the poor devils who have to write for a living." - AlcesteAbout flattery:"Flatterers are always to blame for the vices which prevail among mankind." - Alceste"The more you love someone, the less you should flatter them. The proof of true love is to be unsparing in fault-finding." - AlcesteAbout men justifying their own love choices:"He counts her defects as perfections or finds flattering names for them. If she's pale, it's the pale beauty of the jasmine flower. She may be swarthy enough to frighten the horses, but for him she's an adorable brunette. If she's thin, she's slender and graceful; if fat, she has a queenly dignity; if she neglects her appearance, slight though her attractions may be, she is said to have a 'careless beauty; if she's tall, she'll have the majesty of a goddess; if she's short, she's an abridged version of all the virtues under heaven! If she's proud, her nature is regal. If she's sly, she's clever. If she's stupid, she's all heart. If she talks all the time, she's cheerful. If she never talks at all, she's proper and modest. And so it is that the true and passionate lover worships the very faults of the woman he loves." - ÉlianteAbout love and suffering:"When we suffer at the hands of the person we love, we make many a plan that we never carry out." - ÉlianteAbout the purpose of virtue:"If all men were righteous, all hearts true and frank and loyal, what purpose would most of our virtues serve? Their usefulness lies in enabling us to stay calm and bear the injustices others inflict upon us when we are in the right." - PhilinteThe only shortcoming, which unfortunately is rather prominent, is the somewhat weak ending. Anyway, the play was interesting and the dialogue was acute. I started to wonder how the world would be like if everyone was like Alceste. What kind of society it would produce. At first I thought what a wonderful thing: No lies and no misconseptions. But then - with a flicker of irony - I came to the realization: What a horrible experience! People are not ready! They have too much evil and hurtful thoughts for them to be let loose without consideration. They would kill each other in pure anger and contempt. But it’s a beautiful thought, the thought of honesty.

David Sarkies

One of the thing that I like about reading plays is that they tend to be short and are easy to get through in a short amount of time. However the problem I have is that since they tend to be written so as to be performed on stage (in the same way that poetry is generally written to be read aloud) it makes it difficult to actually follow what is going on. With regards to many of the Shakespearian plays this is not a problem because you can find most of them on You Tube, however a quick search through Youtube has not provided me with any joy in regards to this particular play. The Misanthrope was the only play of Moliere's that I had heard of until a friend of mine bought me a collection of his plays for Christmas. The reason that I knew of it was because I would see the Dover Thrift edition sitting on bookshop shelves and I did want to get around to reading it some day (particularly since it was short). I guess I have done that now. The Misanthrope is about a poet who is disgusted with the fake attitudes of the French nobility, however is in love with a woman who is the epitomy of this. I guess I can relate to this because I have been infatuated with women like this myself, and there is that part of me that believes that I might be able to change her. Mind you, this love is not unrequited simply because she also has feelings for Alceste (the misanthrope of the title) but is torn between her love for him, and for living the high life at court – in fact being a flirt. As mentioned, I can relate to Alceste a lot, particularly since I can be very critical of the shallowness of the western lifestyle, but have also been in love with women that have epitomised this lifestyle. Once again the love was not necessarily unrequited, however the difference was that these women, while appreciating being wined and dined, in the end only really wanted one thing, where as I preferred the company and the affection. I guess I am just a bit conservative in that fashion. It is interesting to see how things have not necessarily changed since the days of Moliere, though I would suggest that more people are able to live this lifestyle now than they were in those days. In fact on my recent visit to China (okay, it was only across the border to Shenzhen, and it was only for a day, but it did give me a bit of a taste) I could see how many of the people there were dressed like Westerners and wondered around the streets of Shenzhen with their faces glued to their smartphones (and I suspect that they were generally playing games). Personally I cannot comment on the Chinese culture, particularly on the Mainland, but it does appear to be much different from our culture. This is the key I suspect because was Alceste is criticising is the shallowness of the culture. He is a poet, and obviously a thinker as well, so he (like me) likes to analyse things and to try to understand why things are the way they are, while the people around him care only for the pleasure and luxury of the high life. However Alceste is still human, he is attracted to a beautiful woman, and she is nothing like the person who he is: she is shallow and only interested in flirting and living the high life. I guess that is why Alceste walks out on her and on his society at the end, simply because he knows that he is not going to change her, and that if he hates this society so much, he might as well leave.


On peut dire de cette pièce qu'elle est comique seulement à cause du protagoniste, Alceste. Tout chez lui est contradictoire, de telle manière que ça le rend hilarant. Les autres personnages quant à eux, n'ont pas un rôle très comique... Mais ce qui m'a surtout déçu, c'est l'histoire elle-même. Il y a eu des rebondissement tel que je m'attendais à une fin prodigieuse, et non pas si plate...


Read for a French lit. class. I love Moliere's plays! Good thing he didn't listen to his parents and opted out of law school!


This play, first presented in 1666, was not initially well received by its audience which felt that it was too gloomy and intellectually challenging. It is in fact thought-provoking as well as being timeless in the issues it raises, dealing with honesty and integrity vs social politeness and expediency. The plot is simple and without much nuance, pitting the rather austere and rigid honesty of Alceste against the more accommodating and flexible social interactions of his sometime friend Philinte. Alceste is wooing Celimene, whom he feels is too free to encourage other suiters whom she actually finds rather revolting.The underlying issue is, of course, one that we see at work in our world every day. Is blunt and inflexible honesty preferable to more nuanced social skills that are better able to elicit cooperation through gentle persuasion? And when does the latter become mere hypocrisy? But does Moliere set up a dichotomy that is too stark, too mutually exclusive? Emily Dickinson was famous for saying, “Tell the truth but tell it slant,” which can be interpreted as suggesting that truths can be framed gently and obliquely such that the hearer is able to receive the message without becoming defensive and rejecting the message out of hand. And phrasing is certainly possible such that the hearer is led to the conclusion on his own, a more Socratic approach. Moliere raised important issues, and, yes, the play can be entertaining. But it is better, I think, to leave the play with issues to mull over rather than feeling one must acquiesce to one of Moliere’s two presented alternatives.Moliere is frequently called France’s Shakespeare. The two authors write out of very different dramatic traditions, and I find Moliere’s works often very thin compared with the multi-layered, multi-plotted works of Shakespeare. Note that one never hears Shakespeare called England’s Moliere.


An interesting and still very relevant debate about the behaviors of people in social situations. Should we be sincere in our feelings with one another, even if those feelings are negative, or should we always be nice and express kindness toward people we dislike, even if that kindness is insincere? Alceste and Philinte differ in their views on the subject, but Alceste (whose view is the former) raises some excellent points. Would you rather receive these false sympathies or know how someone really feels about you? I personally would rather spend my time and energy on people who enjoy my company (and vice versa) but Alceste may find a little too much satisfaction in being blunt...Anyway, several entertaining characters and amusing exchanges. Glad I happened to pick this one up.

Federiken Masters

Una obra que demuestra que el caretaje como estrategia de supervivencia social trasciende épocas, clases y continentes, pero que no es la única forma de vivir en sociedad. Bah... ¿La montaña cuenta como "sociedad"?

Shane Westfall

Next to Tartuffe, it is his best work that I have read yet. Funny, ambiguous, and and full of satirical attacks on society that ring as true today as ever.

ZǿǾmẫ Shŗbãtiķǻ

تاني مسرحيه أقراها لموليير وإن كانت بتتكلم بردو عن النفاق بس من نوع آخر .. بيتكلم عن إنتشار دعاة وتجار الصداقه والمشاعر في المجتمع وعن فقد الكلمات الطيبه قدرها ومعناها بسبب كثرة نطق مالا يشعر به الإنسان و تغليفها بأقنعة من المديح الزائف والمسرحيه بتمشي عالمنوال المذكور باختلاف العلاقات الإجتماعية بين الناس و بعضهاإقتباسمالفائده أن يبدي لك إنسان كل الصداقة و الموده والإحترام ويثني عليك ثناءا عظيما ثم يسرع فيبدي نفس المشاعر لأول رجل تافه يقابله ..لالا إن الرجل النبيل لا يرتضي أن يهدر الإحترام و التقدير لدرجة الإذلال ولا يخادع كل الناس بإظهار إحترامهم له ..فالإحترام يفقد قيمته عندما يضفى على كل الناس ،إن التقدير أساسه الأفضليه واذا قدرت الجميع فإنك لا تقدر احدا ومادمت قد سولت لنفسك أن تعيش في رذائل هذا العصر فلم تعد اهلا لأن تكون صديقي ... ...

Abigail Lo

That was seriously the second-best cat fight in the history of literature. (The first was in The Importance of Being Earnest--you can practically hear the sarcasm dripping from everything. But this is a review of The Misanthrope, not The Importance of Being Earnest!)

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