The Misanthrope and Tartuffe

ISBN: 0156605171
ISBN 13: 9780156605175
By: Molière Richard Wilbur

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About this book

Two classic plays translated by a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet into English verse. In The Misanthrope society itself is indicted and the impurity of its critic's motives is exposed. In Tartuffe, the bigoted and prudish Orgon falls completely under the power of the wily Tartuffe. Introductions by Richard Wilbur.

Reader's Thoughts


Love the way he sow everything on those days !!!!!


There is the genius of Moliere himself, the great playwright and impresario who wrote in a complicate rhyming meter; and there is the english translations by Richard Wilbur in rhyming couplets. It is great gift to english-speaking theatre, and a superior way to present Moliere in english, for which we must honor Wilbur.There are prose translations that are fine, but for theatrical performance as well as reading pleasure, I commend Wilbur's work above all. Goodreads does not clearly distinguish the various translations, so check before buying. And enjoy!


Aged, but rather funny still in today's day and age (at least, in this translation). Ultimately, though, I can't remember too much about it. It doesn't really leave an impression.


I read this for a lit class , and maybe it was the translation, but I couldn't get into either of the plays. After Shakespeare and Sophocles, this guy seemed pretty lame.

Eric Crawford

Now this little book should be required reading in every college in the English-speaking world. Richard Wilbur and Molière saved my life as I transitioned from college to find something human and meaningful in the wider world. This comedy was my companion and guide to surviving as a mere semi-misanthrope rather than a full-on enemy of all-too-human humanity. A touchstone of my understanding of humanity, every bit as much as anything that Shakespeare guy came up with.The translation is miraculous: fresh, alive, and constantly delightful, as I imagine the original lines are in French.


Read Tartuffe 2ce so far. Love the lies and drama!! Definitely a must read. Very funny!! Yet to read "The Misanthrope".


Ah.. Good stuff


Great translations of these classic comedies with notes from Wilbur that prove illuminating as well.


Molière never fails to make a funny and accurate critique of pretenders and liars, and this is not an exception in any of the cases. In the first work, it's the classic liar being discovered, but in the second is just more than that, it's the eternal fight of the honest one rounded by hypocrite society that will let him down even when it comes to what he calls the reason of his life, love itself.

Michael Alexander

Awesome. Witty, skew-eyed, dirty, perverse, cynical, adorable. Plus a hilarious Euripidesque deus ex machina gone provincial. Love both these plays lots, and Wilbur is AWESOME as a translator for making rhyme work onstage post-Elizabethans.


Generally funny and clever and kind of Wilde-esque. I enjoyed the rhyming witticisms, and appreciate how hard this translator must have worked to make it seem so natural. (My favorite rhyme involved the word "tartuffefied")Kind of an aside: Tartuffe very strongly evoked Shakespeare to me. King Lear and Measure for Measure, specifically. (Because of the deluded old man trying to make his daughter fall in line with his absurdity and the lascivious upholder-of-morals attempting to rape a moral lady, respectively.)


Tartuffe, a pious fraud, ingratiates himself into the household a rich family and wreaks havoc.I believe that Richard Wilbur's verse translation of this play is by far the best. Years ago I played Marianne in a different translation (can't remember whose) and while it was fun, the dialogue just didn't flow in the same manner as Wilbur's. Most of the scenes are simply masterful in the way they portray Tartuffe's treachery and his dupe Orgon's failure to grasp his predicament.From a performer's standpoint, there are several delicious roles in the play, including three marvelous parts for women (there's also a part for an older woman who appears at the beginning and the end of the play which, although largely expository, is still pretty fun).Great read - highly recommended.


What's funny is I read these again because I didn't remember anything about them from high school. And when I read them, I really, really enjoyed them! And now I couldn't tell you the first thing about them! I feel like at some point, someone was hiding in a wardrobe. But doesn't that happen in every play?

Sam Ruddick

i haven't read tartuffe. i probably will eventually. for now, i've only read the misanthrope. it was funny, but the rhyming couplets got old. this may have been a failing of the translation, but i looked around at some other translations of other plays, and it looks to me like the variations aren't that substantial unless the play is translated into prose. i think it would lose a great deal in prose, notably the wit, but it's mostly end-stopped, rather than enjambed (a distinction my wife deja gave me words for), and the consequence is the artificial feel. sometimes it's just silly. not funny. silly.this is probably much less a problem in the original french, so the deficit is at least primarily, if not entirely, in my education, not moliere's work.still, there was something insubstantial about the experience. it's like oscar wilde's "importance of being earnest." there's not a lot of complex character development; the plot's complicated, but the characters aren't, and basically the play is just a vehicle for oscar wilde jokes. oscar wilde jokes are very very funny, to be sure, but after you laugh and laugh, the experience is over and you're left with a few memorable one-liners.i was entertained by moliere in the same way (albeit less so) than i was entertained by wilde. but if i can go so far as to say that i was richly entertained, i'd have to add that i walked away with nothing. pinter and beckett gave me just as many (in fact, more) laughs, but i walk away a richer person.jesus christ. what a pretentious load of crap. who is this guy talking? is this me?the horror. the horror.


Surprisingly hilarious. Highly recommended.

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