Presentation on theme: "Molière by Celso Teixeira (Edouard) Painting by Nicolas Mignard (1658)"— Presentation transcript:
Molière by Celso Teixeira (Edouard) Painting by Nicolas Mignard (1658)
Prologue Born Jean Poquelin, in Paris on January 15, 1622, the man who would eventually be known by the stage name Molière, would in his lifetime, write over 36 plays, go to jail, be at the center of numerous French scandals, makes enemies in the Parisian aristocracy, and becomes favourite performer of Louis XIV.
Bourgeois Family Son of Jean Poquelin and Mary Cresé. Both the families of Jean and Mary where established upholsterers in the district of Les Halles (central Paris market district). The Poquelin family traces back to tradesmen from the Northern French city of Beauvais. The Cresé's had lived in Paris for several generations and worked as goldsmiths.
Family de Moliere Jean Sr. leased “la maison du Pavillon des singes” on July 20th, 1620. Shortly after Easter in 1621 he moved there with his new bride. Jean Jr. was born on January 15, 1622. After the birth of his brother also named Jean, Moliere's name was changed to Jean-Baptist.
Early Life Mother is believed to have died when he was 10 although accounts vary on the exact age. By most accounts Jean-Baptist was not close to his father. Father became upholsterer for the Royal Court “Tapissier ordinaire de la chambre du Roi”. At the age of 14 Jean-Baptist was sent to Jesuit Claremont College (now the Lycee-Louis Le Grand).
Clermont College During his time at Clermont he may have also acted as a valet in the royal court. Other graduates include: Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Charles Baudelaire, Cyrano de Bergerac, Emile Durkheim, Frederic Bartholdi, Maximilien Robespierre, Jacques Chirac, Lafayette, Marquis de Sade, and several Nobel laureates.
Life at Clermont Jean-Baptist attended from 1636 to 1641. He made friends with Armand de Conti, the prince of Languedoc, a cousin of Louis XIV. Conti would play an important role latter on in Jean-Baptist's life. Upon leaving Clermont he attended the University of Orleans to study law.
Early Career In 1643 Moliere abandoned his families plans for him to pursue a career in theater. He joined with Madeleine Bejart to found the L'Illustre Théâtre company. In 1645 the company became bankrupt owing 2000 livres in rent on the space they had performed in (A tennis court). Moliere spent four weeks imprisoned for the debt.
Jean becomes Moliere It was at this point that Jean changed his name to Moliere in order to spare his family further embarrassment. Moliere renamed his troup in honor of their new patron, his old friend the Prince of Langudoc, Armand Conti. At this point Moliere decided to take L'Illustre Théâtre on an extended tour of the provinces which lasted 14 years.
Return to Paris Moliere and Troupe Conti performed shows in the towns around the outskirts of Paris in order to build their reputation and ingratiate themselves with the society gentlemen. Performed his farce Le Docteur amoureux at the Louvre before the King. Was granted use of the Petit-Burbon which they shared with a Comedia del'arte troup.
Conti and Moliere Around this time Moliere friendship with Armand de Conti deteriorated. Armand had contracted syphilis and seeking to cure himself hired a religious advisor. Moliere was befriended by Philippe I, brother of Louis XIV, awarded the title Troupe de Monsieur. Joins his company with a famous Comedia del'arte company run by Tiberio Fiorelli (Scaramouche).
Tartuffe Moliere responded to Conti by writing what would become one of his most controversial and enduring plays, Tartuffe, the story of a religious hypocrite who swindles a aristocrat. Moliere had to cease performances of Tartuffe because of the scandle it caused. In response Moliere then wrote Dom Juan, ou le Festin de Pierre a story in which the main character tricks women into thinking hes married them and leaves them when he grows tired of them.
Conti and the parti des Dévots Moliere's works at this time were frequently criticized for their sharp attacks on the church and aristocratic traditions. Chief among his critics where the parti des Dévots among whom included Armand de Conti his former patron. Many of Moliere's performances where forced to close shortly after they opened at the Petit- Bourbon. An accusation was made by Conti that Moliere's wife, Armande Béjart, Madeleine Béjart's sister, was actually his daughter.
Sun King and Moliere This time it was the King himself who came to Moliere's aid by agreeing to be the godfather to his son and moving his performances to the Théâtre du Palais-Royal and providing Moliere with a state pension. Louis XIV was a big fan of Moliere's plays and frequently would dance along on stage with the troupe during a performance.
Sun King and Moliere cont. Painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1863)
Moliere's Relationships Moliere had a nine year relationship with Catherine Debrie, an actor in his troup. This fell apart quickly after Armande Bejart joined the troup. Moliere fell in love with Armande who was 25 years younger then he was, and quickly proposed.
Married Life With most of the troupe, and his mother and father in attendance Moliere married Armande at L'église Saint- Eustache. Moliere's relationship with his wife was a tumultuous one. The role of Célimène from the play The Misanthrope was modelled after Armande.
Derniers Jours Moliere's tuberculosis worsened, was known for a tin sounding cough. Madeleine Bejart dies. During a performance of his play Le Malade Imaginaire, in the lead role of the hypochondriac, Moliere collapsed in a fit of coughing. King Louis urged him to stop the play, but Moliere insisted on continuing allegedly saying “There are many men working here who will not be payed if we do not finish the performance”.
The Death of Moliere That evening on February 17 th, 1673 Moliere returned home and died. Because of his profession and the claim that he did not receive final sacraments, Moliere was, at first, denied burial in holy grounds. His wife however petitioned King Louis XIV who convinced the church to allow him a funeral at night in the area of a Cemetery reserved for the unbaptized.
Burial In 1817 his remains were moved to the Père Lachaise Cemetery. Some other interesting people buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery include Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Auguste Comte, Chopin, and Marcel Marceau. Moliere's comedy troupe renamed Comedie Francaise continues to perform today.
Theatre de Moliere The genius in Moliere's work is in his ability to combine aspects of Comedia del'arte, the neoclassic style and his own tendency to criticize through humor. Comedia del'arte is epitomized by stock dull witted characters, slapstick humor and a great deal of improvisation. The Neoclassic style attempts to follow the rules of the Greek philosopher Aristotle's Poetics.
Comedia del'arte Originally an Italian style of theater, Comedia is highly farcical both physically and verbally. Characters are very one faceted. Themes often they include the dull witted fool, the beautiful girl and the clever young fellow out to make a name for himself. Theres a great deal of slapstick humor and physical gags. In Moliere's The Bourgeois Gentleman Jourain is tricked into making a he haw noise and sounding like an ass.
Neoclassic Neoclassic rules were supposedly, although not actually, drawn from Aristotle's Poetics. Requirements included: That a play take place over a period of one day. That it occur in a single location. That it be divided into five acts. That it report, rather than show acts of physical violence.
Alexandrine Couplet The Alexandrine is a six-foot, twelve-sylable iambic hexameter line, with a pause known as a caesura after the third foot. The lines rhyme, in fact they alternate between masculine rhymes of one syllable and feminine rhymes of two. The half-lines on either side of the caesura must be spoken in precisely equal time durations.
Alexandrine Example Original Couplet Non, ce n'est pas, Madame, un baton qu'il faut prendre, Mais un coeur a leurs veux moins facile et moins tendre, Je sais que vos appas vous suivent en tous lieux; Mais votre accueil retient ceux qu'attirent vox yeux. English Attempted Translation Its not a stick, Madame, that you should brandish, But you must be hard hearted! Not Outlandish! They're drawn to you because your beautiful, But you respond beyond whats dutiful!
Playing Moliere's Characters Frequently in translations especially in English the rhymes seem contrived. Lines should be approached as a verbal joust, with each actor scoring points off the others with their wit. Outward style very controlled but the inner action must be passionate and chaotic.
Moliere's Sardonic Wit Moliere's works, almost all of which were inspired at least in part by his life and the people around him tended to cause quite an uproar. Les Précieuses ridicules openly mocking the behavior and upbringing of provincial aristocratic women. L'École des femmes in which aristocrats plot and scheme in a strange love triangle. La Critique de l'école des femmes which mocks critics of L'École des femmes.
Moliere Scandalous Art Tartuffe ou l'Imposteur in which Moliere mocks the false piety of the clergy. Dom Juan ou le Festin de pierre the portrayal of a womanizing atheist, who pretends to piety so as to seduce young women. Le Misanthrope ou l'Atrabilaire amoureux the dramatization of a jealous suitor and promiscuously flirtatious bride. Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme in which Moliere makes fun of the working class attempting to social climb.
Critisisms of Moliere's work Most of Moliere's scripts where put together very quickly. From a literary point of view its argued that Moliere did not having a consistent, organic style, he used faulty grammar, often mixed his metaphors, and used unnecessary words for the purpose of filling out his lines.
Tartuffe & The Bourgeois Gentleman Covers of the 1682 Editions of the Respective Plays
More Troublesome Plots Les Fourberies de Scapin in which Moliere portrays parents as domineering and too controlling of their children's love lives. Le Malade imaginaire In which Moliere portrays a man obsessed with his health.
Translated Lines & Quotes “I'm afraid Logic doesn't suit me very well. Do you have anything jollier?” -The Bourgeois Gentleman “You bring the whole world into your salon Where troops of lovers seek to get it on!” -The Misanthrope “The duty of comedy is to correct men by amusing them.” - La Critique de l'école des femmes
Continuing Influence of Moliere Many of Moliere's plays are still being performed. Tartuffe was remade as an Opera by Kirke Mechem in 1980. Some phrases from Moliere's works have become French slang. For example a 'tartuffe' is a hypocrite A 'harpagon' is a stingy person. Its the name of the main character in The Mizer
Art Depicting Art Bust of Moliere by Jean-Antonie Houdon (1778) Given Moliere's position in the French cultural pantheon its no surprise that that he is frequently the subject of French artists.
Fontaine Moliere Fontaine Moliere was erected by the French government in 1844. It was the first statue to be built in Paris of someone who wasn't nobility. It was designed by the architect Visconti.
Moliere in Film The Moliere movie is a fictional mix of the Bourgeois Gentleman and Tartuffe, taking place over the 14 year period when Moliere traveled the provinces. In it, he attempts to teach M. Jourdain to act. It was poorly received in France and abroad.
Hotel Moliere Moliere has become a tourist attraction. Tourists to Paris can stay at Hotel Moliere, on rue Moliere, visit Theatre de Comedia where he performed across the street or take the Moliere tour.