Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, Molière

This Web page was designed by Rachal Reel, Sara Robinson, and Sarah Mammen for our French II project at the University of Texas.


About Molière

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, Molière (1622-1673)

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin was born on January 15, 1622 in Paris, France. The son of a merchant to the king, he went on to become one of the greatest playwrights France has ever known. He is also acclaimed as a director, actor, and stage manager.

As a young man, Poquelin joined the theatrical troupe Béjart, a French family of actors who had an amateur company, Les Enfants de Famille. He acquired the stage name Molière and stayed with the Béjart family in their first professional endeavor, Illustre-Théatre. In 1645, after failure in Paris, the troupe traveled throughout French provinces for 13 years. Later, in 1658, they returned to France to perform for Louis the XIV, the Sun King, at the Palais Royal. The troupe enjoyed great success. In 1662, Molière married fellow performer Armande Grésinde Béjart. The Palais Royal eventually developed into the famous Comédie Française, the state theater of France or La Maison de Molière.

Molière himself was both famous and infamous for his satirical plays. He exposed the flaws he saw in society, such as religious hypocrisy and class stratification. Some of his work was highly controversial. For instance, the king banned the performance of Le Tartuffe (1664) until it was rewritten in a form acceptable to the court. The court was the primary audience for Molière's later work. Molière composed farces, comedies, masks, and ballets essentially on demand for the entertainment of the royal court.

Even after his passing in 1673, Molière was surrounded by controversy. Many believed it was inappropriate to bury an actor at a sacred place. After disagreement over the proper burial site, Molière was ultimately laid to rest in a parish cemetery under the permission of the Archbishop of Paris.


Molière's Works

Les Précieuses Ridicules

L'Ecole des Femmes

Les Fourberies de Scapin

Dom Juan



Le Médicin Malgré Lui

Le Malade Imaginaire

La Jalousie du Barbeville

Critical Resources

Monologues from Molière by Dick Dotterer

Molière Student Guide on Literature by Brian Masters

Molière: "Don Juan" by David Whitton

Molière by Hallam Walker

Molière as Ironic Contemplator by Alvin Eutis

Dynamisme de la Peur Chez Molière by Ralph Albanese

Eight Plays by Molière by Jean-Baptiste Moliere

Moliere a L'ecote Republicaine:De la Critique Universitaire Aux Manuens Scholares (1870-1914) by Ralph Albanese

History of the Rheatre 8th edition by Oscar Brockett with Franklin J. Hildy

The Harcourt Brace Anthology of Drama 2nd edition editied by W.B. Worthen

Sites to See

Another page about Molière!
Discover Le Cercle Molière
Site for A Noise Within