The Misanthrope | Study Guide

Molière

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The Misanthrope | Act 2, Scene 3 | Summary

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Summary

Predictably, Alceste reproves Célimène for her all-too-willing consent to admit the courtier Acaste. Célimène replies that she would never risk annoying the visitor, even though she considers him a pest. Although such men are the "chartered gossips of the court," they can cause considerable grief if they are alienated.

Analysis

Although this scene may seem predictable, the brief dialogue between Alceste and Célimène furnishes an important incidence of foreshadowing. Célimène's misgivings about the damage that can be caused by apparently innocuous court gossips come back to haunt Alceste later in this act, when the vindictive Oronte lodges an official complaint about Alceste's critique of his sonnet in Act 1, Scene 2. Célimène, in fact, possesses a far more attuned sense of practicality than Alceste does, who lives to criticize and reject out of his outrage at how far people are from ideal.

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