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Jean-Baptiste Molire's Don Juan has all the outward appearances of seventeenth-century French farce - the stage settings are surreal, the costumes are ludicrous, and the wordplay is witty.
The first 200 words of this essay...
James S. Bowling
Dr. Candyce Leonard
12 February 2005
Molière's Don Juan: A Man Behaving Badly
"He is the greatest rascal the earth has ever held, this madman, dog, devil, Turk, and heretic..." - Sganarelle, Don Juan
Jean-Baptiste Molière's Don Juan has all the outward appearances of seventeenth-century French farce-the stage settings are surreal, the costumes are ludicrous, and the wordplay is witty. The particulars have their origins in Molière's years of experience directing a troupe of traveling actors in southern France. Appealing to a popular audience, Molière adopts the format of the Commedia dell'Arte, the troupes of traveling Italian actors that present farce with a maximum of gesture and mime and a minimum of dialogue. Despite the trappings of farce, Don Juan has very serious elements, ones designed to elucidate the character of the protagonist, his relationship with the world, and his impact on those he deals with. It is Molière's genius to join these elements to themes that attract a more aristocratic (and presumably more sophisticated) audience in the nation's capital. In many respects, Don Juan is a man apart and totally self-contained. Just as Satan, in Milton's
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