"We Have Changed All That"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The Physician in Spite of Himself has been termed Molière's loudest and funniest, perhaps bawdiest, comedy. Borrowing a little from an old French fabliau, a little from Rabelais, and a little from the commedia dell' arte, the dramatist created a farce-comedy that makes audiences laugh year after year. Molière has included beatings, mistaken identities, disguises, bawdy talk, a near-hanging, and a happy ending. Sganarelle, a poor woodcutter with a fondness for drink, is tricked by his scheming wife, Martine, into posing as a doctor. He is, as he says, "kicked into the medical profession." He is called, as a doctor, to attend Lucinde, a young woman who has apparently been struck dumb. She is only feigning inability to talk, however, to protest her father's choice of a husband for her. Sganarelle examines the girl and expounds upon her ailment in recollected school-boy Latin and double-talk. Géronte, the girl's father, is impressed–and puzzled:


GÉRONTE
There is just one thing that bothers me: the position of the liver and the heart. It seems to me that you place them wrongly; and the heart is on the left side and the liver on the right.
SGANARELLE
Yes, that is the way it used to be. But we have changed all that; now we use an entirely new method in medicine.