One Day from Jean Baptist Molieres Life Imagine you could travel in time. Which epoch would you choose? Where would you go? Perhaps most of historians have such dreams. However, until the machine for traveling in time is not built, we have to use our imagination and those fractions of facts left to us by time. The 17-th century has some more interest for me than all other epochs. It was the century of the theaters flourishing. The Golden Age of the theater was coming. France was living through a cultural rise. The king Luis XIV, also known as the Sun King, was fond of theater and theatrical shows; therefore he encouraged the development of theater in Paris and other big cities.
Although he particularly liked the ballet, he supported theatrical troupes and granted them decent premises and protection from the Church. The clergy was against the theater and was its enemy. Although they did encouraged religious mysteries, the priesthood hated comedies. The reason was simple in those comedies sometimes the object of laughter was the priest and it was unbearable for the Church. One of the most famous comedians who derided the clergy was Jean Baptist Moliere, the French dramatist who was persecuted by the Church his entire life. His life was very difficult he did not have much happiness in his married life and there were rumors that he had a child from his own daughter.
However, those rumors are not proved by documents. Moliere started with a small theatrical troupe which was traveling all around France, giving performances for rich aristocracy. At first Moliere was not successful both as a dramatist and an actor. Their troupe had one failure after another. He could not compete with Cornielle or Rassin who worked with classicism dramas based on ancient tragedies. But then Moliere found his genre and it was comedy and satire.
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Nobody could compete with him in this realm. Their troupe became successful. With time they returned to Paris and started their own theater with the help of Luis XIV. The tragedy of Moliere was that he was too brave for his time and he did not have awe for the clergy. Molieres Tartuffe was the scandal and all the priesthood was up in arms against Moliere and his troupe. He suffered from not being understood by his contemporaries.
For instance, when Moliere created some fiction type and laughed at him in his plays, some people, who were generalized in this type, thought Moliere laughed at them. One aristocrat who thought that Moliere laughed at him wanted a duel with Moliere. And when Moliere refused he embraced him and clasped him to his bottom which was all in diamond buttons. The effect was terrible the buttons cut Molieres face to blood and after this he had scares on his face. The constant pressure from the Church and other enemies undermined Molieres health. But he continued to write his comedies and to act in them until his last day.
I want to describe the last day of Jean Baptist Molieres theatrical life which coincided with the end of his life. On Friday of the 10-th of February, 1673, the premiere of the play Hypochondriac or the Imaginary Invalid took place and it was success. The same success followed at the second and third performances. The fourth one was scheduled for the 17-th of February, 1673. And this is the day, which I want to describe in detail. It was a dull, grey February day.
In the second floor of the house that was located at Richelieu Street, along the cabinet on the threadbare carpet, was pacing back and forth, coughing and sneezing, a man in the dressing-gown of the emerald color, which he put on top of his body-cloth. The head of this man was bound up with a silk scarf like women do. The logs in the fireplace were burning merrily and it was pleasure to look at them turning away from February gloominess. The man was pacing along the cabinet, sometimes stopping to look at the engraving nailed to the window. On this engraving was depicted a man with the face, which reminded a hunting falcon, in the wig with tight and large rings of hair that fell down on the brave shoulders. This man had prominent, bulging and clever eyes.
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Under the image of the man there was the coat of arms on the shield that showed three flowers in the field. The man in the dressing-gown was talking quietly to himself, sometimes smiling contentedly to his thoughts. When he approached the portrait he relented covered his eyes with his hand, squinted and admired the picture. Very good engraving, the Great Conde, – he said solemnly. Then he crossed the room, sat down before the fireplace and stretched out his legs to the fire. I should shave, – he said, touching his unshaved cheek. No, I wont. Its too tiring to shave every day.
Warming his feet, he got up and went to the bookcases in the corner of the room. He stopped near the one in which on the bookshelves the manuscripts lied in the pile. The man took one of the manuscripts and read the title Coridon. He grinned darkly and wanted to tear this manuscript to pieces but his hands betrayed him. Then he decided to burn it and threw it in the fireplace between the logs. Soon the room became lighter for some moments and Coridon fell in black pieces. While the man upstairs was occupied with burning of Coridon, Armanda, Molieres wife and Baron, the actor of Molieres troupe, who came to visit Moliere, were talking downstairs.
He didnt go to church and he said that he didnt feel well, – Armanda was telling to Baron. Why church?- asked Baron. Because today is the seventeenth, the memory day of Madeleines death answered Armanda. Oh, yes, – said Baron politely. Is he coughing? Armanda looked at her interlocutor. He had a light-hair wig that fell on his shoulders. Baron wore a new silk suite; on the knees of his pantaloons he had precious laces.
His rapier was hanging on the wide cross-belt and the elegant shaggy muff was hanging on his bosom. You look so great today!- said Armanda and added: Hes coughing and he was shouting at the servants all through todays morning. I already noticed that Friday is the worst day. However, I saw too many Fridays for eleven years. Well, you go upstairs to him and dont stay with me or the servants will spread rumors in Paris again. Armanda and baron went upstairs. They didnt enter when they heard the bell ringing.
How does men and women are respectively treated and represent today in our culture? I think in order to answer this question, we have to look at the history of our each culture. Since many years ago, the representation of men is always refers to dominant, powerful and influential. On the hand, the representation of women in general is always fragile, romantic and soft. The domination of men over ...
The man in the dressing-gown went out of his room and asked with disgust: Hey! Is there anybody here? Ah, thats you. Hello, Baron. Hello, master replied Baron, looking above him. Yes, hello. I would like to have a conversation with you. He put his arms on the railing, his hands supporting his cheeks, and resembled a funny monkey in the nightcap. Armanda and Baron understood with surprise that he wants to talk right here, on the stairway, and they stayed downstairs. The man kept silent for a moment and then he began speaking: I would like to say, if the pleasures and failures in my life took turns, I would consider myself a happy man.
Armanda thought to herself that his hypochondria had started again and that Moliere was very ill. She said: Perhaps you dont have to play today, master. And Baron added: Yes, you are ill. Dont play today. The grumbling came from above: What is that you are saying? How can I cancel the performance and to deprive the actors of their evening fee? But you dont feel well- said Armanda. I feel great said the man being just stubborn. And the man went back to his room.
I tell you this is Friday and you can do nothing about it, – said Armanda. I will go and see him again, – said Baron hesitatingly. I dont think it will help. Lets go and have lunch said Armanda. In the evening, on the stage in the Palais Royal Theater, the funny doctors in black gowns and chemists with clysters initiated bachelor Argan into the doctor: If an ill man breathes hard And cannot speak? And Moliere disguised as a bachelor replied merrily: The clever doctor will prescribe immediately To let a poor thing blood! Two times the bachelor vowed his fidelity to the medical faculty and when the president asked for the third time to do the same, the bachelor did not respond and moaning fell down in the armchair. The actors who were at the stage shook and laughed they did not expect this trick and the moaning was so realistic.
But the bachelor suddenly got up, laughed and cried in Latin: I swear! Nobody noticed anything in the stalls but some of the actors noticed that the face of the bachelor changed its color, and the sweat was on his forehead. The surgeons and the chemists danced their ballet entries to the end and the performance was over. What was with you?- asked worriedly Lagrange who played Cleante in the comedy. Oh, rubbish! I just felt pain in my chest and then it was gone answered Moliere. Lagrange went to calculate the cash for the performance and settle some business in ….
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