Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-4rdrl Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-22T02:24:18.342Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Chapter 8 - Molière and Classical Theatre

from Part II - Intellectual and Artistic Context

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 November 2022

Jan Clarke
Affiliation:
University of Durham
Get access

Summary

During his lifetime and afterwards, Molière was frequently and favourably compared to Plautus and Terence by early modern commentators, despite the relative paucity of direct imitation or borrowing. Only three Molière plays have clear ties to classical sources: Amphitryon, L’Avare and Les Fourberies de Scapin. Even in these cases, Molière demonstrates a constant interest in updating, adapting, or even subverting his illustrious models, while also ostentatiously rejecting the authority of classical rules. However, in this regard Molière may be imitating the traditions of classical comedy more authentically than his early modern peers recognised. Terence and Plautus were criticised in their own time for their ‘contamination’ of sources, and their free use of prior plays and comedic tropes points to a freewheeling borrowing that is close to Molière’s in spirit. In addition, the Roman playwrights’ method of performing authorship, featured most prominently in the prologues to Terence’s plays, demonstrates a similar interest in stoking controversy and rejecting pedantic rules in favor of the audience’s pleasure. Molière may well have been classical, but precisely in those ways that most irritated his classically minded contemporaries.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×