Harpagon’s house (AR-pa-gon). Parisian home of the miser Harpagon, a widower without a wife to restrain his obsession with accumulating money while spending as little as possible on his two adult children and his house. He tells others that he has transformed his house into a makeshift hiding place for his money. Fearful of being robbed and killed for his wealth, he buries his money in his garden and suspects even his own children of planning to rob him. He believes that anyone who seeks entry to his house must be a thief, and this makes life so miserable for the children, Cléante and Elise, that they both wish to marry as quickly as possible in order to get away from him.
With its tacky furniture, Harpagon’s house is an entirely inappropriate home for a wealthy businessman. As a member of the upper class, Harpagon is expected to maintain a comfortable house in which he and his children enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. However, his children are humiliated whenever friends visit their house, and guests are shocked to see Harpagon beat his cook, Master Jacques, for spending too much money on food. Harpagon thinks that he can impress guests by serving them sparse and unappetizing meals. The shabbiness of his house, with its extremely old and dilapidated furnishings, exemplifies his moral insensitivity and his complete indifference to his children’s feelings.