Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 168

The Affected Young Ladies is a play by French playwright, Moliere. The play's theme is essentially a satire on the pompousness and self-identity of Paris as a city of sophistication and refinement. The two daughters represent the youthful energy of France, which contradict the sensitive social order of the Parisian upper-class. The "affected young ladies" also represent independence.

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This gives us the other theme of the play: the tension between independent thinking--which leads society to perceive the individual is exhibiting eccentric behavior--and patriarchal social structures. The men courting the young women are disgusted by them early on because the ladies are flirtatious and "artificial."

However, the ladies themselves exhibit their own strict social structure, or rules. For instance, they believe that men who court them must be miserable and should struggle to win their affection. They also place high value on superficial things, such as beautiful clothing and presentation. In this regard, both the men and women in the play are fighting because of their respective rigid beliefs.

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