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


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.

Mark R.

Highly enjoyable play about a man who has a perfectly negative outlook on just about everything. His friends challenge his feelings of tenderness towards a woman in his life, for how can someone who hates so much find it in himself to be in love with anyone? The play presents five acts in which the Misanthrope of the title discusses with his friends; with a man who considers himself a poet, whom the Misanthrope is unable of critiquing without extreme rudeness; and with the woman he desires; among others. The wordplay in this story is fantastic and quite often very funny.


I was expecting dry and I got witty. I thought it would be stilted and instead I got clever rapid-fire barbs. Moliere’s cheeky play pokes fun at French aristocracy and social norms of the time. The main character, Alceste, despises the superficial French aristocracy. He refuses to pay false compliments and makes himself unpopular with the court. Despite his high moral standards and distain for those around him, he’s still deeply flawed. He falls in love with a chronic gossip and flirt, Célimène. Even though he’s willing to marry her, she can’t stand the thought of giving up her constant string of suitors. I loved the wordplay, which makes me wish I could read the original text in French. I’m sure it’s much better than the translation. I also think this would be an excellent play to see performed. It has a similar feel to some of Shakespeare comedies. It’s a quick read, but a good one.


I have a hard time rating books or plays when I want to throttle the characters near to death. I know that this means the author did an amazing job capturing the hypocrisy of the characters. However, maybe he did too good a job if the characters of Alceste and Celimene are able to make me so angry it spills over toward the work. I think the character of Alceste reminds me of how I acted when I was in high school and that I was "cool" to be sarcastic and find fault with movies or books, rather than to admit liking things and talking about the good things. I am glad I am not that person anymore and doubly glad I didn't have to move to a desert island away from humanity to achieve it. Kudos to Moliere, a pox to Alceste.


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!

Dorottya Bacsi

Oh my God. Pure gold from the beginning to the end. The storyline was fantastic and complex and the characters were amazing. Not one of them (except for the ones who appeared for a scene or so) were see-through and superficially created. The end was amazing. Célimene's decision was so credible and authentic for her character. I also like how many interpretations the text can give for the characters. I already saw a theatre performance of this play, and that direction had a totally different view on Célimene to what I had immediately, and both are correct and appropriate on the level of the text.


My first Moliere and what I wanted to know was can a play written by a Frenchman in 1666 amuse an American 350 years later? In other words is this comedy written in such a different place and time it might as well be another planet still funny?I'm happy to say the answer is "Mais oui!" This book made me laugh out loud several times. I loved Alceste's bitter but witty rants about how horrible everybody he knows is. His review of a rival's sonnet is so scathing he lands in court. "But gentlemen, I cannot praise his rhyme.In fact it ought to be a capital crimeFor anyone so sadly unendowedTo write a sonnet and read the thing aloud."I was genuinely interested in which of Celinene's many wooers would win her and was pleased and surprised at how the play ended. A great deal of the credit for my enjoyment of Moliere has to do with the great translation by Richard Wilbur, himself a Pulitzer Prize winning poet.


Although it's been several years since I last read a work by Moliere, I seem to remember the last two I read to be much more funny. This one is not as laugh-out-loud hilarious as I remember past Moliere experiences to have been. While it is amusing in parts, on the whole the tone feels much more subdued to me, which was frankly a little disappointing to me. I also was troubled by a sense of feeling torn about whose side I was on. The very beginning scene with Alceste and his friend Philinte made me seriously wonder which of the two is more right in their approach to life. I can see virtue in both sides, and I feel like in my own life I alternate between Alceste's viewpoint and Philinte's. I wonder if the fate of both men in the end is indicative of which attitude Moliere deems preferable? While not as much fun to read as some of his other plays, The Misanthrope certainly gives one some food for thought.


Meine zweite Komödie von Molière und das mir, die ich doch eigentlich gar keine Komödien mag, aber ich liebe seine Komödien!Ich habe die Handlung sehr gut verstanden und konnte ihr sehr leicht folgen, sie ist auch nicht wirklich komplex.Alceste ist ein sooo toller Charakter, der am Ende meiner Meinung nach die richtige Entscheidung trifft, was ich nicht erwartet hätte. Ich konnte ihm auf jeden Fall immer beipflichten. Wir sind beide wohl sehr negative Typen :D Alceste ist gegen Falschheit und Genusssucht und kommt überhaupt nicht mit Heucheleien und der Hofgesellschaft zurecht. Und ich glaube, so wäre ich auch an seiner Stelle. Ich mochte aber auch alle anderen Charaktere. Célimène ist zwar eine absolute Frevlerin und alles, was Alceste hasst, aber so konsequent, dass sie schon wieder sympathisch war. Besonders gerne mochte ich ja ihr Streitgespräch mit Arsinoé.Insgesamt eine wunderbar übersichtliche und aufgrund der Chraktere amüsante Komödie, die Spaß gemacht hat. Ich kann gar nicht sagen, warum ich keine 5 Punkte gebe. Es ist eben nicht mein Lieblingsbuch und ich mag generell ja die Gattung Komödie nicht so gerne. Trotzdem ist "Der Menschenfeind" jetzt eine meiner liebsten Komödien.


This is one of the famous plays of Moliere. It is written in Alexandrine verse, iambic hexameter, but the English translation is in iambic pentameter. It is about the hypocrisy of 17th century French society. Alceste is the main character, whose greatest flaw is his inability to flatter people and not to tell the truth. Oronte, a Marquis of the Court, wants to befriends him. When the Marquis asks him to review his sonnets, he dismisses his writings as bad, and he advises him to forget that career. Oronte is so offended that he files a lawsuit against him. Alceste and Oronte are both enamoured to Celimene. Though Alceste loves her so much, he criticizes her for accepting many suitors. When Alceste loses his court battle, he decides to live in solitude, isolated from the society. To test Celimene's love, he asks her to marry him, thereby, joining him in isolation. She refuses the offer, claiming that she is too young to live in solitude. The play is a joy to read aloud for the iambic pentameter verses are rhymed on the 5th and 10th syllables.

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.


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.

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.

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 ... ...


Une chouette comédie, où Alceste devient un véritable caractère, un original contradicteur qui reste malgré tout intégré à la société, où on ne connait pas la profondeur des sentiments de Célimène. Le plus intéressant dans cette comédie est à mon avis la façon dont Molière parvient à tourner en ridicule "l'atrabilaire amoureux".

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