Mooliere's The Misanthrope Analysis

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Register to read the introduction… As Stephen V. Dock notes, its use by Alceste is "somewhat puzzling," since, as a mode of fashionable dress, it was not adapted by society until 1670, well after the first performance of The Misanthrope in 1666. Indeed, the frontispiece to the 1667 edition of the play shows the seated Alceste not wearing a justaucorps. Dock agrees with Tom Lawrenson's supposition that "Molière updated this costume in 1670 and wore it in fourteen subsequent performances." In Brissart's 1682 illustration of Le misanthrope, we see the first scene of the play: Philinte speaks to Alceste, depicted as Molière wearing an embroidered, buttoned, and be-ribboned justaucorps.

"The richness of the costume," Dock points out, "is outstanding." An Alceste in such a costume is not only wearing the latest fashion, but is exposing "the hypocrisy of his own claim that he loathes everything about the court."

Alceste is one of the most arresting characters in drama--a man ruled by his passionate distaste for society and its hypocrisy, who is also deeply in love with a flighty, witty coquette who
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From the first scene in the play, Alceste informs us that he knows how absurd his position is. Molière also creates moments in which Alceste engages in extreme actions just to maintain his "position" in his social game. At these times, he knows he may be turning himself into an ass, and although he may not like it, he is finally overcome by a righteous passion and commits to his argument. Alceste's self-knowledge costs him something, and, if presented with care, these moments within the play can open up the humanity of the character in ways that are unusual to a

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