Task Description — Transcript of Director’s Address to Cast Essay Example

  • Category:
  • Document type:
  • Level:
    High School
  • Page:
  • Words:

The Miser

Moliere’s purpose in writing the play the Miser was to use comedy in telling a story concerning an old ruthless businessman whose stinginess is legendary. Given the time period that this play was acted, it is important to keep in mind that there existed legends already concerning ultra-stingy individuals. A classic example of this from the time was the story Pot of Gold in which the main character Aulalaria had found a pot of gold that he wanted to keep hidden while plotting to marry off his daughter to a wealthy neighbor. This was the same angle that Harpagon the main character in Moliere’s The Miser was employing having hidden money in his garden and wanting to marry off his daughter Elise. Given that the audience were already familiar with the story line, it was important for Moliere to ensure that the audience did not lose interest from the obvious storyline. The best way that Moliere used to ensure this was the use of humor and comedy.

The biggest instances of comedy and satire are found in how the main Harpagon relates with other characters in the story. For example, Frosine who is the match maker between Harpagon and Marianne catches the audience’s sense of humor by how he charms Harpagon, a man he knows is too old and too stingy to love, that Marianne is only interested in old men over sixty. The tagline being how Frosine explains that the qualities that make Marianne desirable is that she feeds little and is not a known spender. That will mean that despite the fact that she cannot afford the required dowry of twelve thousand francs, the old man will be able to recover it through the savings that she accords him!

This enmeshes well with the scene in which La Fleche being a broker tries to broker a loan for Cleante from his father Harpagon without any of them being any wiser. Harpagon is too exorbitant in his costs while Cleante has no way to pay. In brokering the loan, La Fleche tells Harpagon that the borrower comes from a rich family and stands to inherit a fortune should his father die, and he will in the near future. Paying should not be a problem to him. Harpagon readily accepts, however, the comedic irony comes when they discover they are really doing business together! Harpagon admonishes Elise for taking a loan while Elise calls out Harpagon for being a ruthless loan shark (Molière and Chambers). The twist in that arc is simply too ironic and comical to ignore.

By use of dialogue and timing each of the character’s personality is well embalmed to achieve the audience attention. Harpagon is the main antagonist, his words and actions are littered with irony which serves to make the audience not outrightly hate him and reject the play. He complains that his overworked servant Jacques demands too much money yet it is he who wants good food and he pays the man too little for all the services he gives him. However, the biggest impact comes in how each character evolves their actions in line with Harpagon’s stinginess. La Fleche and Frosine masked their deception with trying to help out Harpagon in business and romantically while they were there for selfish interests. Elise is shown acts like a victim of Harpagon’s vices but her actions mask her deception like how she maneuvered to have her lover Valere employed by Harpagon. The only person strong enough to voice the sentiments of the audience regarding Harpagon is Cleante. It is not a surprise then that the audience roots for him when he steals his father’s money!


«Brief History On Commedia Dell’arte». Shane-arts.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 29 May 2017.

Molière, and David Chambers. The Miser. 1st ed. New York, N.Y.: Dramatists Play Service, 1993. Print.

«The Miser: A Study Guide For The Moli�Re Play». Cummingsstudyguides.net. N.p., 2017. Web. 29 May 2017.