October 19, 2021
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known as Molière, is a French actor and playwright, baptized on January 15, 1622 in Paris, where he died on February 17, 1673. Coming from a family of Parisian merchants, he joined forces at the age of 21 with a dozen comrades, including the actress Madeleine Béjart, to form the troupe of the Illustre Théâtre which, despite the collaboration of renowned playwrights, did not succeed. to win in Paris. For thirteen years, Molière and his Béjart friends roamed the southern provinces of the kingdom in an itinerant troop maintained by several successive protectors. During this period, Molière composed a few farces or small comedies and his first two major comedies. Back in Paris in 1658, he quickly became, at the head of his troupe, the favorite actor and author of the young Louis XIV and his court, for whom he designed numerous shows, in collaboration with the best stage architects, choreographers and musicians of the time. He died at the age of 51, hours after starring for the fourth time in the title role of The Imaginary Invalid. A great creator of dramatic forms, interpreter of the main role of most of his plays, Molière exploited the various resources of the comic - verbal, gestural and visual, situational - and practiced all kinds of comedy, from farce to comedy character. He created individualized characters, with complex psychology, who quickly became archetypes. A lucid and penetrating observer, he painted the manners and behaviors of his contemporaries, sparing hardly anyone but the ecclesiastics and high dignitaries of the monarchy, to the delight of his audience, both at court and in town. Far from being limited to harmless entertainment, his great comedies question well-established principles of social organization, arousing resounding controversies and lasting hostility from devout circles. Molière's work, some thirty comedies in verse or prose, with or without ballet and music entries, is one of the pillars of literary education in France. It continues to be a great success in France and around the world, and remains one of the references of universal literature. His eventful life and strong personality have inspired playwrights and filmmakers. A sign of the emblematic place it occupies in French and French-speaking culture, French is commonly designated by the periphrase “language of Molière”, just as, for example, German is “langue de Goethe”, English "language of Shakespeare", Spanish "language of Cervantes" and Italian "language of Dante".