A Review of The Miser
The Miser is a comedy written by playwright Jean-Baptiste who was also known as Molière. This play utilized an eventful plot centered around romance. The play stood to symbolize Parisian society in the 1660s while also shedding light on the hazards of greed and selfishness. (Cummings Study Guides)
Molière uses themes such as love, luck, and greed to teach viewers valuable lessons about the significance of balance and communication in relationships. The play is set in the Parisian home of a greedy, elderly man named Harpagon and his two children, Cléante and Élise. The play is largely focused on their attempts to find love (and in Harpagon’s case, more money) ( Moliere, 2000).
Each of these three characters essentially end up with the wrong person; “wrong” meaning, not the person they were initially in love with. Harpagon will only allow his children to marry for financial benefit and he forbids them marriage with their true loves. The two couples’ (Cléante and Marianne and Élise and Valère) determination to be together helps drive the plot forward in a meaningful suspenseful way (Buckner 2011).
One of the play’s biggest motifs is greed. Harpagon’s yearning for riches and fortune keep him from being happy in life. Harpagon is insatiable and his want for money can never be met throughout the entirety of the play. He doesn’t realize that “All that glisters is not gold”. Harpagon does not place any value on love, charity, warmth, or caring. This makes him empty as a character, though he remains an increasingly intriguing protagonist (Cummings Study Guides). Other themes in the play are the power of true love, loss, and cruelty (Buckner 2011).
Though one could argue that the play could have been more meaningful as a tragedy, Molière likely wrote it satirically to avoid severe criticism and to protect himself from harm that could come to him from angry, offended nobility. Since the play is an elaborate allegory for the...