In the seventeenth century, Molière raised comedy to the pitch of great art and, three centuries later, his plays are still a source of delight. He created a new synthesis from the major comic traditions at his disposal. This collection demonstrates the range of Molière's comic vision, his ability to move between the broad and basic ploys of farce to the more subtle and sophisticated level of high comedy. The Misanthrope appears along with Such Preposterously Precious Ladies, Tartuffe, A Doctor Despite Himself, The Would-Be Gentleman, and Those Learned Ladies.
Molière combined all the traditional elements of comedy - wit, slapstick, spectacle and satire - to create richly sophisticated and enduringly popular dramas. The Miser is the story of Harpagon, a mean-spirited old man who becomes obsessed with making money out of the marriage of his children, while The Hypochondriac, another study in obsession, is a brilliant satire on the medical profession. The School for Wives, in which an ageing domestic tyrant is foiled in his plans to marry his young ward, provoked such an outcry that Molière followed it with The School for Wives Criticized - a witty retort to those who disapproved of the play's supposed immorality. And while Don Juan is the darkest and most tragic of all the plays in this collection, it still mocks the soullessness of the skinflint with scathing irony.