Molière Drama Analysis
Molière’s first comedies were composed of elements borrowed from a variety of comic genres, high and low, ancient and modern, foreign and domestic. In each, he revealed considerable skill in development of character, observation of manners, construction of plot, or a combination of all these laced with much amusing physical activity. There was little original invention until The Affected Young Ladies, which was a petite comédie, a short farce designed to be performed after a longer serious work, but a farce containing satire of the excesses of certain manners of the day. Still specializing in the farce, of which he would remain a master, Molière continued his search for originality. The School for Husbands, in three acts, is the first of his plays to add a social thesis, however disguised by humorous treatment, to the observation of manners and character.
The School for Wives
The School for Wives, Molière’s first major play, centers on the vain Arnolphe, who has taken the aristocratic name of M. de la Souche. Hoping to acquire the peace and happiness of a conjugal life in his old age, he wishes to marry his young ward, Agnès, who is being reared in solitude and ignorance. He praises the virtues of this unnatural form of education to his friend, Chrysalde, who protests against his plan in the name of common sense. Meanwhile, Horace, the son of Oronte, a great friend of Arnolphe, has fallen in...
(The entire section is 3926 words.)
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