1622 - 1673
Moliere is considered the world's greatest writer of comedies.
Many of his plays have also been translated for performances
in English theatres, giving him a considerable reputation abroad.
Moliere, whose real name was Jean Baptiste Poquelin, was born in Paris. He studied with the Jesuits at the College de Clermont. In 1643 he embarked on a theatrical venture under the title of L'Illustre Theatre, which lasted for over three years in Paris. In 1658 he played before the king, and organized a regular theatre.
From 1659 no year passed without at least one major dramatic achievement. His plays range from simple farce to very sophisticated comedy. They ridicule the weakness and foolish actions of the people of his time, and point up their false values.
In 'Tartuffe' Moliere invented one of his famous comic types, that of a religious hypocrite. The play was so audacious that King Louis XIV, although he found it amusing, did not permit a public performance for five years, fearing that it would offend the powerful French higher clergy.
Moliere died while playing the leading part of
his last play,
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