The Misanthrope Characters


Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Alceste (ahl-SEHST), an outspoken, rigidly honest young man disgusted with society. Protesting against injustice, self-interest, deceit, and roguery, he wants honesty, truthfulness, and sincerity. He hates all men because they are wicked, mischievous, hypocritical, and generally so odious to him that he has no desire to appear rational in their eyes. He would cheerfully lose a law case for the fun of seeing what people are and to have the right to rail against the iniquity of human nature. In love with a young widow, Célimène, he is not blind to her faults, but he feels that his sincere love will purify her heart. He controls his temper with her, for he deems her beneath his anger. Despite her coquetry, he will excuse her if she joins him in renouncing society and retiring into solitude. Seeing himself deceived on all sides and overwhelmed by injustice, he plans to flee from vice and seek a nook—with or without Célimène—where he may enjoy the freedom of being an honest man.


Célimène (say-lee-MEHN), a young widow loved by Alceste, though she embodies all qualities he detests. She is a flirt, a gossip with a satirical wit demonstrated in caustic sketches of her friends, and a woman eager for flattery. Not certain that she truly loves Alceste, she feels that he may be too jealous to deserve her love. In the end, she scornfully...

(The entire section is 529 words.)

The Misanthrope Character Analysis

The Misanthrope Celimene

Celimene is a very attractive and very flirtatious young widow, who is pursued simultaneously by at least four different men. Of all the...

(The entire section is 295 words.)

The Misanthrope Philinte

Philinte is a true friend of Alceste. As the play opens, Alceste is chastising Philinte for his insincerity in treating a distant...

(The entire section is 264 words.)

The Misanthrope Other Characters

Acaste is one of the two marquis who pursue Celimene. In Act V, Acaste, along with Clitandre, confronts Celimene with...

(The entire section is 1003 words.)