Rivalry and the Disruption of Order in Molière's Theater


"In critical readings of ten of Moliere's most important plays, this book argues that a rivalry that endangers order by collapsing differences structures the works and provides a key to their understanding. Moliere's great comic characters all want desperately something that they cannot have. The objects of their desire may vary, but the presence of desire itself remains a constant. In L'Ecole des femmes, Arnolphe wants, above all, to avoid cuckoldry. The title character in Dom Juan covets women. The bourgeois Monsieur Jourdain does all in his power to become a gentleman in Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, and the eponymous character in George Dandin views his woes as the price of an ill-fated marriage that he had hoped would elevate him to noble rank. Le malade imaginaire, Argan, has a seemingly crazy desire to be sick. The list could go on."

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Madison, NJ
Publication year:
  • 2004


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