Molière – Best Guide in 2023

The most well-known of all French comedic authors is Molière, whose birth name was Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (baptized January 15, 1622, Paris, France—died February 17, 1673, Paris). Molière is also known by his stage name, Molière.


In 17th-century France, Molière was frequently the target of plots by both the religious and secular authorities, but in the end, his brilliance shone through and won him respect. Molière used the majority of comedy’s traditional forms, but the genre has a long history. But he did succeed in developing a novel aesthetic, the comedy of the, based on a contrast between the ordinary and extraordinary as seen in relation to one another. Both the real and the fake are seen next to each other, as well as the wise and the small-minded. Being an actor himself, Molière appears to have struggled to imagine any situation without dramatizing and animating it, often to the point where it was absurd. As evidenced by works of art like Tartuffe, L’École des femmes, Le Misanthrope, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, and many others, he had the foresight to forego evangelizing and instead to animate the absurd. Because of how groundbreaking his concepts were, Molière has been compared to great comic book creators who worked in other media centuries later, like Charlie Chaplin.

Young Age

In the center of Paris, Molière was both born and died. His mother passed away when he was ten years old. His father, who was a designated furnisher for the royal household, gave him a good education at the Collège de Clermont, where many accomplished Frenchmen, including Voltaire, later received their education. The young man made the decision to renounce the royal appointment in 1643 even though it was obvious that his father wanted him to take over and that he was destined to do so. He had the impression that he was adamant about defying expectations and going into theater. In the same year, he and nine others founded the Illustre-Theatre. On a document dated June 28, 1644, his pen name Molière first appears in print. He was destined to spend the last 30 years of his life working in theaters, dying exhausted at the age of 51.
Madeleine Béjart, a gifted actress, convinced Molière to found a theater, but she was unable to guarantee the viability and stability of the young business. Due to debts owed on the property and building, Molière was twice jailed in 1645. When there were few theatergoers and the city already had two well-established theaters in the 17th century, it must have seemed impossible for a young company to survive.

The group traveled the provinces in search of work for a total of 13 years, starting at the end of 1645. It is impossible to write a history of these years, but local directories and church records show the company intermittently forming: in Nantes in 1648, in Toulouse in 1649, and so forth. They resided in Lyon between the end of 1652 and the summer of 1655, as well as once more in 1657. They also spent a brief amount of time in Béziers (1656) and Montpellier (1654, 1655). Undoubtedly, they had their ups and downs.

These unrecorded years must have been essential to Molière’s development as a professional because they prepared him for his later work as an actor-manager by serving as a demanding apprenticeship and teaching him how to communicate with authors, colleagues, audiences, and authorities. Without these years of preparation, it is difficult to understand his quick success and tenacity in the face of resistance when he eventually returned to Paris. His first plays are known to have been Le Dépit amoureux (The Amorous Quarrel) in Béziers in 1656 and L’Étourdi; ou, les contretemps (The Blunderer; or, The Mishaps) in Lyon in 1655.


There was a scandal on December 26, 1662, the opening night of L’École des femmes (The School for Wives), as if people had a sneaking suspicion that a comic genius who scorned all sacred cows was about to make their debut. This is considered by some competent judges to be Molière’s masterpiece and the pinnacle of pure comedy. It is based on the Spanish short story “La Précaution inutile” by Paul Scarron, which tells the tale of a pedant named Arnolphe who marries Agnès, a young woman with no social graces, because he is so terrified of femininity. This comedy defies convention, which amplifies the subtle portrayal of a girl’s shifting temperament that it so expertly achieves. By showing his pedant falling in love with her, Molière concludes his fantastic story. Both he and the audience find amusement in his elephantine gropings toward lovers’ talk.

Italian actors performed three times a week at the Palais-Royal theater beginning in 1662. The Italian masters of commedia dell’arte taught Molière a lot about physical humor. Les Fâcheux (The Impertinents), which had its premiere at Vaux in August 1661, Tartuffe in its original form, which had its premiere at Versailles in 1664, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (The Bourgeois Gentleman), which had its premiere at Chambord in 1670, and Psyché, which had its premiere at the Tuileries Palace in 1671, are among the plays he wrote that were privately commissioned and thus had their premieres elsewhere.

Molière wed the daughter of Madeleine and the comte de Modene, Armande Béjart, on February 20, 1662. Only one of the marriage’s three children, a daughter, survived to adulthood. There are defamatory pamphlets that analyze Armande’s flirtations, but there is hardly any trustworthy information. The marriage was not happy.

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