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4.2 out of 5 stars11
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on August 4, 2000
The Misanthrope is a play about the principled Alceste, a regular Don Quixote of honesty and speaking one's mind. Despite the advice of his "friend" Philinte (apparently the playwright's voice), he never pulls any punches in revealing the vanity and superficiality of the court and the nobles (the Misanthrope was written during the reign of Louis XIV). While exposing the shallow flatterers for what they are, the play also points out the vain-glorious and quite ridiculous aspects of pursuing an ideal at any cost. As is known, Moliere is considered one of the greatest playwrights and a master of comedy. Partly because of this elevated status, I was a little disappointed by the Misanthrope. It does not reach the comic heights of the Greek comedies or Shakespeare, and as a comment on principled people it is certainly inferior to Ibsen's Brand. It is quite possible that it is more engaging when performed on stage, but as a read it is less than I expected.
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