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Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Moliere


Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Moliere 
(1622-73)

The great comic dramatist, born in Paris, the son of an upholsterer attached to the court; educated at the Collège de Clermont (where, according to modern scholarship, he was not a pupil of Gassendi). In 1643, with Joseph and Madeleine Béjart and others, he founded a dramatic company (the Illustre Theatre) in Paris and became an actor, from 1644 under the stage-name 'Molière'

In October 1658, his company settled in Paris in the Théatre du Petit-Bourbon (part of the Louvre), granted to him by the king; in 1661, it moved  to a hall in the Palais-Royal (again by the king's favour), where it plated till Molière's death. The year 1659 saw his first great comedy of manners, Les Précieuses ridicules; then came Sganarelle (1660), Dom Garcie de Navarre (1661, at the Palais-Royal; a failure). L'École des maris (1661), and Les Fâcheux (1661, at Vaux-le-Vicomte)--the first of his 14 comédies-ballets (several with music by Lulli), which were to prove highly popular at court. In 1662, he married Armande Béjart, younger sister (not daughter) of Madeleine Béjart; the marriage was not happy. The severe criticism levelled at L'École des femmes (1662) showed that, though he had many friends and supporters (inc. the king and Boileau), his unsparing ridicule had also made him, especially rival authors; he defended himself in La Critique de L'École des femmes and L'Impromptu de Versailles (both 1663). 1664 saw Le Mariage forcé, La Princesse d'Élide, and the first performance of one of his greatest plays, Le Tartuffe, which drew a storm of protest from the devout and was prohibited. Dom Juan (1665), also the object of violent attacks, was removed from the repertory. There followed L'Amour médecin (1665); Le Misanthrope (another masterpiece) and Le Médecin malgré lui (both 1666); Melicerte, La Pastorale comique, and le Sicilien--three slighter pieces (winter of 1666-7); and Amphitryon (1668). The company had been experiencing hard times, but this last play was a considerable success. It was followed in the same year by L'Avare and George Dandin; Monsieur de Pourcaugnac (1669); Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme and Les Amants magnifiques (both 1670); Psyche (in collaboration with Corneille and Quinault), Les Fourberies de Scapin, and La Comtesse d'Escarbagnas (all 1671); Les Femmes savantes (1672); and Le Maladie imaginaire (1673). While playing Argan in this last comedy, Molière was taken ill and died soon after. The clergy made difficulties about his burial, which took place at night without pomp.

His genius lay in his great fight for observing the complexities and foibles of human nature and then presenting them in their amusing aspect--that is, short of the point where they turn to tragedy (though some of his greatest plays reach the borderline). In general, the theme of his more serious comedies is the exposure of hypocrisy and affectation in all their forms. His lighter pieces, on the other hand, shine by their gaiety and absurdity. He was thus a master of both high comedy and farce (thought said by his friends to have been of a melancholy disposition.


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Публикувано от: Станка Лазарова

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