The 400th birthday of Molière is celebrated this week in France

January 22, 2022

The 400th birthday of Molière

This week marks the 400th birthday of Molière - a playwright who many consider as the French Shakespeare.

A/ Who is Molière

  1. He was born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin in January 1622.
  2. Before being a successful playwright, Jean-Baptiste was trained in law and became a notary.
  3. Molière met actress Madeleine Bejart and together they started the Illustre Theatre.
  4. She was co-director and by all accounts a very capable administrator of the theatre.
  5. He was a writer, producer, lead actor and financial manager.
  6. He was the mentee of king Louis XIV and was in charge of entertaining him.
  7. And he enjoyed antagonising people, even those from his inner aristocratic circle, making fun of infidelity and such.
  8. His play, Tartuffe, poked fun at religious hypocrisy and, at the time, caused a huge controversy.
  9. Moliere was a genius.
  10. Moreover his sense of opportunity and his gift for improvisation allowed him to change tack easily.
  11. Both Molière and his wife often acted in his plays as principal characters.
  12. Sadly he died shortly after playing in The Imaginary Invalid, a play which ridiculed medicine and doctors.
  13. But he was denied a Christian burial due to the lowly status of theatre at the time.
  14. Even nowadays, Molière is considered one of the most important playwright who ever lived.
  15. His works are still among the most played in the world.

B/ What you need to know about him

Amazing facts about Molière:

8 of the Most Amazing Facts about Molière - Discover Walks Blog

He remains central to French culture today:

Molière: 400 years as master of the French stage (thelocal.fr)

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