Preface to Drama: An Introduction to Dramatic Literature and Theater Art

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III. THE RIDICULOUS PRÆCIEUSES
A Neoclassic Comedy by Molière

Introductory Note to Molieère and Les Précieuses Ridicules

UNLIKE SOPHOCLES, who wrote tragedies for festival production in a vast hillside amphitheater, and Shakespeare, who wrote a great variety of dramas for entertainment of the public in playhouses that looked much like innyards open to the sky, Molière wrote farces and comedies for the diversion of the courtly and urbane in what was essentially a modern theater. Though his stage is closer to our own, the fact that he wrote comedy may seem to remove him a bit further from us. For comedy is characteristically time-bound to its period, and it takes a certain consciousness of the social context to enjoy the comedies of yesteryear to the full.

Molière--to use his theatrical name--was born in Paris in 1622, the son of a respectable upholsterer, Jean Poquelin III, who was soon after named official upholsterer to the King. The boy, Jean Baptiste Poquelin, was expected to follow in his father's footsteps. He was
given a good education in the humanities at the Jesuit college of Clermont, among sons of the best families of France, including the
Prince de Conti and perhaps Cyrano de Bergerac. Then he studied law, was probably admitted to the bar at twenty-one. But he became interested in the theater, perhaps the influence of the red-haired actress Madeleine Béjart, a few years his senior, who lived nearby. He threw in his lot, as Molière, with a little theater group, principally members of the Béjart family. The Illustrious Theater struggled for survival in Paris for a couple of years before failing. Then the troupe took to the road and played in the southern provinces of France for the next thirteen years.

Thereafter, in 1658, under the guidance of Molière and Madeleine, the company returned to Paris with great success. The little farces and comedies that Molière had begun writing, with suitable parts for himself and his fellow actors, amused the young King Louis XIV, and Molière was repeatedly called to perform at Court and to

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Preface to Drama: An Introduction to Dramatic Literature and Theater Art
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Preface to Drama: - An Introduction to Dramatic Literature and Theater Art i
  • Title Page i
  • Foreword iii
  • Contents v
  • Part One - The Preface 1
  • I - Preliminary 3
  • II - The Playscript 25
  • Scene I 44
  • Scene II 52
  • III - The Stageplay 64
  • IV - The Play 93
  • V - The Drama 124
  • H.M.S. Pinafore or the Lass That Loved a Sailor 145
  • Part Two - The Plays 181
  • I - Antigone 185
  • Scene I 192
  • Scene II 197
  • Scene IV 202
  • Scene V 206
  • II - Othello 221
  • Act One 224
  • Scene III - The Council Chamber. 229
  • Act Two 232
  • Scene II - A Street. 242
  • Act Three 251
  • Scene II - A Room in the Citadel. 261
  • Scene IV - Before the Citadel. 263
  • Act Four 276
  • Scene II - A Room in the Citadel. 282
  • Scene III - State Bedroom in the Citadel. 290
  • Act Five 297
  • III - The Ridiculous PræCieuses 320
  • Scene I - La Grange, Du Croisy 323
  • Scene IV - Madelon, Cathos, Gorgibus. 324
  • Scene V - Cathos, Madelon. 325
  • Scene VII - Mascarille, Two Chairmen. 327
  • Scene VIII - Marotte, Mascarillie. 328
  • Scene X - Cathos, Madelon, Mascarille, Marotte. 330
  • Scene XI - Cathos, Madelon, Jodelet, Mascarille, Marotte, Almanzor. 334
  • Scene XII - Lucile, CéLimène, Cathos, Madelon, Mascarille, Jodelet, Marotte, Almanzor, and Fiddlers. 335
  • Scene XIII - Du Croisy, la Grange, Cathos, Madelon, Lucile, CéLimène, Jodelet, Mascarille, Marotte, and Fiddlers. 337
  • Scene XVI - Madelon, Cathos, Jodelet, Mascarille, and Fiddlers. 338
  • Scene. XVIII - Gorgibus, Madelon, Cathos, and Fiddlers. 339
  • IV - Hedda Gabler 344
  • Act Two 347
  • Act Three 370
  • Act Four 390
  • V - Candida 420
  • Act I 423
  • Act II 445
  • VI: Life with Father - A Period Comedy by Lindsay and Crouse 482
  • Act One 485
  • Scene II 503
  • Scene II 517
  • Act Three 548
  • VII - The Glass Menagerie 569
  • Scene 1 572
  • Scene 2 578
  • Scene 3 583
  • Scene 5 587
  • Scene 6 594
  • Scene 7 601
  • VIII - The Crucible 636
  • Act One - (An Overture) 639
  • Act Two 663
  • Act Four 683
  • Appendix 731
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