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French 1622-73

If Shake­speare was the master of the English lan­guage and the­atre, Moliére was un­doubt­edly the master of the French. Born into an up­per­class fam­ily, he was in­volved with the­atre from a young age and soon went on to write his own plays. Of­ten re­ceiv­ing royal com­mis­sions for work, he gained fame for his come­dies, which are still pop­u­lar ma­te­rial for the world’s stages to­day. How­ever, de­spite — or per­haps be­cause of — his back­ground, he be­gan crit­i­cis­ing the aris­toc­racy and re­li­gion through his sub­ver­sive use of hu­mour, draw­ing ire from moral­ists and con­dem­na­tion from the pre­vail­ing Catholic Church. Some of his plays were con­sid­ered so in­sid­i­ous that the Church banned them — which only went to fur­ther his fame in the long run, of course.

Moliére’s most fa­mous plays in­clude Tartuffe,

The Misan­thrope and

The Imag­i­nary In­valid

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