The Alceste In Molieres Le Misanthrope English Literature Essay


Since the late 1600s, comedies of manners have satirized “ the manner or mode of the manner in which members of the societal group ( society ) act or act. Much of this is physical and can be seen in the manner people in a peculiar civilization communicate through organic structure linguistic communication. Furthermore, much of this can be seen by analysing the wooing manners and

societal justnesss of a period. Period music and dance drama major functions in this ” ( Comedy of Manners Style 1 ) .

This manner of theaters emerged during the Restoration, a period of theatrical resurgence in England. From 1642 to 1660, the Puritans ruled England, and under their control, all theaters were closed. They felt that theater was a threat to society and phase look must be suppressed. However, when King Charles II took the throne in 1660, he allowed theater to boom one time once more. Shortly after, comedy of manners was developed and perfected in England and subsequently in other western European states, including France where Moliere would bring forth some of the most celebrated comedy of manners plants.

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“ Formalized within the narrow and ego-centric Restoration theater, comedy of manners continued to be written by observant playwrights wishing to reflect or notice upon the attitudes of likewise constituted societal groups who looked upon theatre-going as a privilege of their category. In England, these early comedy of manners playwrights

included Wycherly, Congreve, Etherege, and Farhquar ” ( Comedy of Manners Style 1 ) . Later playwrights of this signifier included Sheridan, Wilde, and Noel Coward.

Le Misanthrope, a drama by Moliere, which satirizes the manners of the Gallic nobility, is one of Moliere ‘s most celebrated plants.

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Centered on Alceste, the “ misanthropist, ” the drama explores honesty, love, and societal behaviour.


In my sentiment, the most of import component of a comedy of manners play is that it satirizes society. Often, dramatists wrote the drama to mock the really audience that would be watching it. Moliere was one such dramatist. To truly perfect the function of Alceste, the histrion needs to be familiar with the manners of the Gallic nobility during the late 1600s. The drama opens with Alceste and Philinte debating the value of honestness. Philante, along with the other characters of the drama excepting Alceste, are representative of the nobility at the clip. They believe that it is better to be false, to accept human defects and prevarication for the benefit of others, than to be wholly true. Alceste, nevertheless, believes in barbarous honestness.



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By definition, a misanthropist is a individual who hates people. As the “ misanthropist ” of Le Misanthrope, it is obvious that Alceste detests those around him, even those that he loves. In Act I Scene II, Oronte asks Alceste for his sentiment on a sonnet he has written. Alceste tells him how genuinely horrific he finds the verse form, stating him, “ Honestly, you had better put it in your cupboard. You have been following bad theoretical accounts, and your looks are non at all natural. ” His uncensored honestness was unheard of at the clip. In Act II Scene V, Celimene remarks that Alceste “ ever supports a contrary thought, and he would believe himself excessively much of the common herd, were he observed to be of any one ‘s sentiment but his ain. The honor of gainsaying has so many appeals for him, that he really frequently takes up the cudgels against himself ; he combats his ain sentiments every bit shortly as he hears them from other folks ‘ lips. ” At this clip, understanding was considered polite and proper, and dissension was saved for back door chitchat. Celimene is painting Alceste as an foreigner amongst these blue bloods with her remark. These extracts genuinely demonstrate Alceste ‘s nature as a comedy of manners character and should strongly act upon an histrion ‘s portraiture.


As stated earlier, the point of a comedy of manners is to satirise society. Moliere focuses specifically on the Gallic nobility in Le Misanthrope. At the clip, members of the nobility would talk with a slightly blithe air. To better stress the contrast between Alceste and the society he mocks, an histrion should make a harsher tone for the character. While the other characters seem unworried, Alceste ‘s voice should hold a certain dignity. Alceste wastes no clip when talking his head ; the histrion should non blow either. Throughout the drama, assorted characters refer to Alceste as “ absurd. ” A crisp difference in the manner he speaks, will besides add to the absurdness of the character.

Moliere writes Le Misanthrope in a really distinguishable manner. The text rimes, adding to the visible radiation, about capricious feel of the duologue. Again, the histrion playing Alceste must supply a strong contrast between himself and the others. He can carry through this in many ways. As mentioned before, he can talk in a rougher tone. He can besides put less accent on the rime and more on the bosom of the lines themselves.


Much of Moliere ‘s word picture ( stock characters ) , secret plan development, and public presentation manner is based on the earlier commedia dingle ‘arte manner of jury-rigged comedy ( Comedy of Manners Style 1 ) .

Commedia dell’arte

The Misanthrope

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Some of similarities between commedia and comedy of manners can be seen in the exposure above. The theatrical production is really similar ; many characters occupy the phase at the same clip. There are besides dress uping similitudes. While most of the back uping dramatis personae is dressed in impersonal colourss, the chief character is dressed in bright attire, doing him or her base out. In the Commedia image, the chief character was the adult male dressed in ruddy, contrasting the white costumes of the other characters. In the Misanthrope, this character is Alceste. He should be dressed in simpler, but darker garments. The audience should be able to see that Alceste does non care about what he wears every bit much as the other members of the nobility.

Commedia dell’arte dealt strongly with physical motion, every bit good as verbal comedy. Knowing this, an histrion should besides research the physical facets of Alceste. He is an blue blood, so he would likely exhibit comparatively good position. However, his positions are rather different from those of a typical blue blood. An histrion may see attesting the load he carries by slumping or traveling at a slower, about heavy gait. Another physical thing to see is manus gestures. Other physical facets to see include manus gestures and phase motion. Alceste seems like the sort of character who would affect some manus gestures when he was particularly fired up about something. When traveling around the phase, he would likely travel rapidly. He does non was clip tippytoing around the hard when he speaks, hence one must non anticipate him to make the same when he walks.


Most of the comedy in a comedy of manners comes from duologue instead than action. “ Comedy of Manners is known as high comedy because it involves a sophisticated humor and endowment in the authorship of the script.A In this sense it is both rational and really much the antonym of slapstick, which requires small accomplishment with the book and is mostly a physical signifier of comedy.A In a Comedy of Manners nevertheless, there is frequently minimum physical action and the drama may affect heavy usage of duologue ” ( Comedy of Manners 1 ) . While a bulk of comedies of the same period focused on showing physical comedy to the audience, Moliere provided a kind of rational comedy. The wit is spoken, instead than presented visually, leting it to easy be lost amongst the actions. Therefore, it is imperative that the histrion playing Alceste stress the wit of certain lines. This is non a stand-up comedy show. We should n’t hear a membranophone and cymbal after every gag. However, if delivered improperly, the wit and really kernel of the piece can travel wholly undetected and the overall purpose of the piece, lost. Alceste must be read with an about sarcastic tone. He despises everything around him, and that attitude provides the wit to the show. If Alceste was merely similar every other member of the Gallic nobility, there would be no struggle and the events of the drama would look less than fiddling. Once once more, the differences between Alceste and the remainder of the characters must be strongly emphasized or else the comedy of the piece is lost.


An histrion portraying Alceste in Moliere ‘s Le Misanthrope must see many different factors when undertaking the function. Comedy of manners trades with sarcasm of society and the manner people present themselves. Therefore, it is most of import that the histrion learns make a contrast between Alceste and the Gallic blue bloods of the clip period. He should besides concentrate on tone of voice, physical elements of the character, and bringing of the comedic lines of the drama. If he surveies each of these consequently, he should be able to show Alceste in the traditional comedy of manners manner, merely as Moliere intended it.

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The Alceste In Molieres Le Misanthrope English Literature Essay. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

The Alceste In Molieres Le Misanthrope English Literature Essay

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