The Misanthrope | Study Guide

Molière

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Course Hero. "The Misanthrope Study Guide." Course Hero. 25 Oct. 2017. Web. 17 Nov. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Misanthrope/>.

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Course Hero. (2017, October 25). The Misanthrope Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved November 17, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Misanthrope/

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Course Hero. "The Misanthrope Study Guide." October 25, 2017. Accessed November 17, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Misanthrope/.

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Course Hero, "The Misanthrope Study Guide," October 25, 2017, accessed November 17, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Misanthrope/.

The Misanthrope | Act 4, Scene 4 | Summary

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Summary

Alceste's valet, Monsieur Dubois, enters to convey to his master a cryptic, garbled message. The gist is that Alceste must immediately depart from Paris. Dubois is unable to explain exactly why, and when he is pressed to identify various callers, he cannot do so. The emergency may, in some mysterious fashion, be related to Alceste's lawsuit. With suspense (as well as Alceste's frustration) mounting, the act comes to a close.

Analysis

This brief scene contrasts with the highly emotional confrontation between Alceste and Célimène in Scene 3. The comic and bumbling ineffectualness of Dubois may owe a debt to the stock characters and farcical action of the commedia dell'arte, the Italian style of comedy that was popular in Paris during Molière's day and had a considerable influence on many of his plays.

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