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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 413

MUSIC MASTER Mere praises do not provide a comfortable existence; one needs to add to them something more substantial, and the best praise is cash.

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In the beginning of Act One, we learn that Monsieur Jourdain has hired tutors to teach him the art of being a gentleman. The music master and the dancing master engage in conversation about Jourdain behind his back. Both agree that Monsieur Jordan pays well, and they appreciate his largesse. However, the music master contends that adequate remuneration must accompany praise: after all, an artist must be pragmatic. Meanwhile, the dancing master is offended by what he considers the music master's indelicate focus on money. The conversation highlights the frequent conflict between material and non-material considerations in the practice of art.

MUSIC MASTER: All the troubles, all the wars one sees in the world happen only because people have not learned music.

DANCING MASTER: All the misfortunes of mankind, all the dreadful disasters that fill history books, the blunders of politicians and the errors of great commanders, all that comes from not knowing how to dance.

Here, the dancing and music masters argue about the true impact of their individual crafts on society. On the surface, the passionate words appear to constitute opposing arguments between two idealists. In reality, however, the two masters are vying for Monsieur Jourdain's attention and by extension, his financial largesse. In the play, we learn that Monsieur Jourdain has also hired a fencing master and a master of philosophy. Although the dancing master prefers to be discreet...

(The entire section contains 413 words.)

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