April 21, 2021

Molière, the ruthless satirist always topical | Culture

Molière, the ruthless satirist always topical | Culture


Molière it never gets old-fashioned. His comic works are more interpreted than those of any current playwright because he knew how to hit the key halfway between denunciation and satire, ridicule and correction of the exaggerated customs of mid-seventeenth century France. Not in vain, the French author went down in history as one of the most universal writers and translated into all languages.

He himself was responsible for many of his works and, making his own the motto of traveling Italian theaters that toured France at the beginning of the century, he managed to "correct the laughing customs" based on criticism and absurd situations among his characters, although not without to go through hardships and disappointments throughout his life.

He was born in a family without narrowness and well related to royalty for the work of his father's upholsterer, but since childhood, and under the influence of his uncles, the theater it caught his attention and Molière he decided to dedicate himself completely to him without wanting to know anything about the job he was inheriting or about the profession he might have carried out for his studies. With time he also came to royalty for his plays, which counted equally with royal favor and censorship, although he always won the admiration and applause.

On February 10, the anniversary of the premiere of his latest work is celebrated, 'The imaginary patient'(1673) that he himself starred. In full success of his career, Molière satirized in this comedie-ballet in three acts the medical profession through the character of Argan, a hypochondriac who tries to convince his daughter to abandon her true love and marry the son of your doctor to save on health expenses. In the fourth representation of the work, Molière suffered on the scene an aggravation of the tuberculosis he suffered and, taken to his home, he died seven days later.

Molière he was ruthless with pedantry in his works, also with lies and with the airs of greatness in the bosom of society through his satirical characters, exalting the youth he wanted to free from what he considered absurd restrictions. His role as a moralist ended in the same place in which he defined it: "I do not know if it is better to work on rectifying and softening human passions than to try to eliminate them completely."

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, his real name, was born in Paris on January 15, 1622. He was the son of a wealthy royal upholsterer who inherited the name, Jean Poquelin, and Marie Cresse, who died when he was 10 years old. He studied with the Jesuits in Clermont and in 1642 he graduated in Law from the University of Orleans before following in the footsteps of his father, which he achieved that same year with the position of royal upholsterer of Louis XIII.

At this time he met and interacted with the comedians Béjart and, possibly influenced by his uncles, who as a child took him to see many plays, decided to leave his well-off position and seek his vocational place on stage as an actor and also as a writer.

The following year, in 1643, together with the Béjart family, he formed the Illustrious Theater, falling in love with its director, Madeleine Béjart. But just a year later, in 1644, he went on to direct himself. The beginnings were difficult, accumulating debts and numerous failures. It was at that time when Jean-Baptiste adopted the artistic name of Molière not to harm his family, since theater was not a well-regarded profession. After one of the theatrical failures, Molière was even imprisoned several days due to debts.

When released, he left Paris and became a wandering actor for five years throughout the country. In 1650 Molière returned to assume the direction of the theater company and in the following years he wrote his first farces and comedies: 'The reckless or the setbacks' Y 'The amorous spite' In them, his comic talent as an actor and writer began to arouse the sympathies of the public, and his fame reached the king's brother, Philip I of Orleans. In 1659 he achieved success with 'The ridiculous beautiful', Confirming his reputation and obtaining the favor of the same king Luis XIV, before whom he interpreted a tragedy that bored and a farce that amused a lot. This is how he settled in the Royal Palace in 1660.

In 1662 he married the sister of Madeleine Béjart, Armande, so that the traditional Parisian society began to consider Molière a libertine and feared his disastrous influence on the royal house. These suspicions and misgivings were a great source of inspiration for the playwright, who began to write new satirical works and ridicule through comedy and absurd situations those who criticized his life and work.

In 1664 the king appointed him responsible for the amusements of the court and Molière launched 'The pleasures of the enchanted island'And represented'The princess of Élide', In which he mixed text, music and dance. Also that year he wrote 'Tartufo', Which denounced the hypocrisy of the Church. The work supposed a great scandal and was censored during five years, although it was interpreted in some private representations.

A year later he wrote 'Don Juan', inspired in 'The mockery of Seville', of Tirso de Molina. By then his company became the Royal Company, but as his success increased, his health began to suffer setbacks due to tuberculosis that diagnosed him, and forced him to act intermittently, but without stopping writing. In fact, some of his best works are from this period, among which is included in which he expresses the separation of Armande, 'The misanthrope'

Scene of a work by Moliere (1622-1673). Engraved by Jean Le Paultre (1618-1682). France, 17th century.
Scene of a work by Moliere (1622-1673). Engraved by Jean Le Paultre (1618-1682). France, 17th century.

He also wrote 'The doctor with sticks', Tried to re-enact'Tartufo'With another title but the work was again banned until 1669, when it reached a great success, represented'Host' Y 'Georges Dandin', as well as 'The miser' Y 'Scapin's tangles'

In his last work, 'The imaginary patient', He suffered a heart attack during the fourth performance and died seven days later at his home in Paris, on February 17, when he was 51 years old. With his death, nevertheless, the confrontations on his controversial figure did not finish, since the Church, when considering his acting profession unworthy and by his critics to the religious power, they did not allow to bury to him in the sacred land that was a cemetery. It was the widow of Molière, Armande, who asked the king that the playwright could have a normal funeral at night and he agreed, being buried in the part of the cemetery reserved for children killed prematurely and without baptism.

The legacy of his works, almost 25 since he began writing, continues to be current and are represented every year throughout the world. However, of Molière He has also transcended the superstition of not wearing yellow on stage, as it is believed that it was the color of the clothing he wore when he suffered the heart attack that days later cost him his life and is considered a bad luck color.

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