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Molière (1622-73) combined all the traditional elements of comedy—wit, slapstick, spectacle and satire—with a deep understanding of character to create richly sophisticated dramas which have always delighted audiences. Most are built around dangerously deluded and obsessive heroes such as The Would-Be Gentleman and The Misanthrope who threaten to blight the lives of those around them. Such Foolish Affected Ladies and Those Learned Ladies (both newly translated for this edition) expose the extravagant, fashionable fads and snobbery of the Parisian smart set, while the story of the falsely devout Tartuffe and his devoted disciple Orgon attracted huge controversy for its attack on religious hypocrisy. Finally, The Doctor Despite Himself forms a hilarious chapter in Molière's long-standing vendetta against the medical profession.
Like Shakespeare, Molière was a true man of the theatre whose comedies blend sharp insight into human nature with an unerring sense of what would work on stage and make people laugh. All his greatest achievements are included here and in the accompanying Penguin Classics volume, The Miser and Other Plays.