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Moilere's Rise To Fame Essay

896 words - 4 pages

Molière was the stage name of French actor and playwright, Jean Baptiste Poquelin, born Paris 1622. In 1643, he joined nine others to produce and perform comedies as a company named ‘Illustre-Théâtre’. In 17th Century Paris the numbers of people visiting theatres was insufficient and within two years, the company was bankrupt. Jean was sent to prison for debts on the properties he owned so when he was released in late 1945, he changed his name to Molière and, for around 13 years, the company made a living by touring the provinces of France.
For several years of his life, he resided in Lyons, France, where he was greatly influenced by travelling Italian companies performing Commedia ...view middle of the document...

He animated the absurd and used farce to shine a harsh light on the flaws of French society at the time. He had to be careful as his plays had to be associated with a classical taste, which was firmly rooted by the time Louis XIV assumed person rule over his kingdom in 1661. The doctrine (Neoclassicism), developed by scholars and theorists over more than half a century, required authors in general to be ‘plausible’, to respect the new, more refined social morality, to avoid extravagant and ‘unrealistic’ characters and situations, and to adapt to a new purity of language. Dramatic authors were ordered to obey these rules. Originality and imagination were not highly regarded, for excellence lay in the imitation of good models. Tragic authors took their subjects from ancient writers and comic playwrights looked to Spanish and Italian sources for their inspiration. Farce had been outlawed in the capital by the sophisticated requirements of neoclassicism.
Of course, Moliere was forced to work within a specific theatrical tradition but he was also prepared to experiment, not allowing himself to be governed by the rules of classic theatre which were ignored or bent in at least half of his plays. For example, the maid Dorine in Tartuffe speaks with intelligence far above her social class, which was against the neoclassic principle of appropriateness. Also, the deus ex machina ending of Tartuffe where a god, or in this play, the king, jumps in and saves the day at the last minute, was not in line with neoclassic rules. In the neoclassical world, characters who exhibit extreme behaviour are supposed to...

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