The Miser : A Comedy
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Moliere, a French playwright and actor is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. "The Miser" was first produced when Moliere's company was under the protection of Louis XIV himself. It was loosely based on the Latin comedy Aulularia by Plautus, from which many incidents and scraps of dialogue are borrowed, as well as from contemporary Italian farces. The miser of the title is called Harpagon, a name adapted from the Latin harpago, meaning a hook or grappling iron. He is obsessed with the wealth he has amassed and always ready to save expenses. Now a widower, he has a son, Cleante, and a daughter, Elise. Although he is over seventy, he is attempting to arrange a marriage between himself and an attractive young woman, Mariane. She and Cleante are already devoted to each other, however, and the son attempts to procure a loan to help her and her sick mother, who are impoverished. Elise, Harpagon's daughter, is the beloved of Valere, but her father hopes to marry her to a wealthy man of his choosing, Seigneur Anselme. Meanwhile Valere has taken a job as steward in Harpagon's household so as to be close to Elise. The complications are only resolved at the end by the rather conventional discovery that some of the principal characters are long lost relatives. Satire and farce blend in the fast-moving plot, as when the miser's hoard is stolen. Asked by the police magistrate whom he suspects, Harpagon replies, "Everybody! I wish you to take into custody the whole town and suburbs" and indicates the theatre audience while doing so. The play also makes fun of certain theatrical conventions, such as the spoken aside addressed to the audience, hitherto ignored by the characters onstage. The characters of "The Miser," however, generally demand to know who exactly is being spoken to."
- Paperback | 72 pages
- 128.52 x 198.37 x 4.06mm | 127.01g
- 07 Feb 2015
- Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
- United States
- black & white illustrations