MOLIERE was born shortly after Shakespeare died). Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known as Molière, was born in France on January 15, 1622. and became a real invalid on February 17, 1673 when of all things he died during (well he got ill during and died immediately thereafter) a performance of his own play, the Imaginary Invalid. His satires took aim at the church and aristocracy, but never the monarchy. After all he knew where his croissants were buttered. He also founded Illustre Théâtre (Illustrious Theater Company) and was the leading French comic actor and director of the 17th century.
So Jean-Baptiste, let’s be sincere and begin with a few questions about phonies.
I assure you that a learned fool is more foolish than an ignorant fool.(Les Femmes Savantes; 1672)
He's a wonderful talker, who has the art of telling you nothing in a great harangue. (Le Misanthrope; 1666)
Human weakness is to desire to know what one does not want to know (Amphitryon; 1666)
The Do-gooders/ the world changers?
Of all follies there is none greater than wanting to make the world a better place (Le Misanthrope)
I prefer an accommodating vice to an obstinate virtue. (Amphitryon)
You loved a good meal. Let’s talk about nutrition and health
Between the tree and the bark it is better not to put your finger. (Medicin Malgre Lui)
Are doctors good or evil?
All the same. My lord Jupiter knows how to gild the pill (Amphitryon)
Five petit fours?
Heaven forbids, it is true, certain gratifications, but there are ways and means of compounding such matters. (Tartuffe; 1664)
Let’s take a look at the opposite gender. Romance?
Love is a great master. It teaches us to be what we never were. (L’Ecole des Femmes)
Why is that?
One is easily fooled by that which one loves. (Le Tartuffe)
But it is not reason that governs love. (Le Misanthrope)
Some thoughts on writing and the theater.
Why the classics have such a hard time getting staged?
The envious will die, but envy never. (Tartuffe)
A laudation in Greek is of marvelous efficacy on the title-page of a book. (Preface--Les Precieuses Ridicules; 1659)
Good Heavens! For more than forty years I have been speaking prose without knowing it. (Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme; 1670)
What you really thought of your competition?
Anyone may be an honorable man, and yet write verse badly. (Le Misanthrop)
You can’t live on applause. Praise alone doesn’t keep a man going. One needs something more substantial than that, and, to my mind, there’s no praise to beat the sort you can put in your pocket. (Le Bourgeois Gentilhomm)
Today’s sit-com writers?
It is a strange enterprise to make respectable people laugh (La Critique de L’Ecole des Femmes; 1662)
So is heaven better. Does satire work in the afterworld?
Then we are understood, we always speak well, and then all your fine diction serves no purpose. (Les Femmes Savantes)