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Argan, the wealthy head of the household, is the main character in The Imaginary Invalid. Although Argan is quite affluent, he is also a terrible hypochondriac who spends a great deal of his fortune trying heal himself from his many imagined ailments. Argan always feels as if his own...

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Argan, the wealthy head of the household, is the main character in The Imaginary Invalid. Although Argan is quite affluent, he is also a terrible hypochondriac who spends a great deal of his fortune trying heal himself from his many imagined ailments. Argan always feels as if his own death is imminent, so he tries to proactively fight back with a barrage of medicines, tonics, and enemas. Argan's other obsession is earning and hoarding money; he does not part with it easily, either. Being a notorious cheapskate, he hatches a plan that will address two of his obsessions at once: he will force his daughter marry a medical student so that he will always have access to free medical treatment. The fact that his daughter is not interested in marrying the man is but one of the many flaws of this plan.

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Argan is the main character of the play.  Many times throughout the play we see him used and taken advantage of by his doctors, his maid and his wife.  He is a grandiose character that often erupts with intense emotions.  He seems almost a caricature of himself, and consequently it's hard to take his character seriously at first.  It's the soft side of his personality that draws the audience in as we get to know his true self, separate from his intensely emotional self, and feel sorry for him because of how he is treated by the other characters.  He may be a clueless and highly dramatic hypochondriac, but he cares deeply about the people in his life and yet they merely take advantage of his naivete.

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