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The Misanthrope

The Misanthrope


by Molière

Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type : Comedy

Shadow of Confusion (No one knows the truth)

Does She or Doesn't She?

We start off introduced to the misanthropic and lovesick Alceste, who's got a thing for Célimène. She's is a lying liar who lies, and uses honestly as an excuse for being a jerk. Obviously, they'd be perfect together.

Or not. It turns out that a bunch of guys like Célimène, and everyone thinks that he is the one that she loves. But who is it really? Is it Alceste? Oronte? Clitandre? Acaste? Is it none of them? Are they all fools? We're not sure, and we don't even know very much about this Célimène chick except that she is a flirt.

Pressure of Darkness (Everyone thinks they know the truth)

Mine, All Mine!

Arsinoé shows Alceste a letter that Célimène wrote to Oronte and he flips out. The other guys realize that they are not the only ones seeking Célimène's affections and they decide to duke it out. We also learn a bit more about Célimène's reputation from Mrs. Arsinoé so we're pretty sure that Célimène loves none of these guys,

Everything Comes to Light (Everyone finds out the real truth)

… Or Not.

Well shnap. It wasn't surprising but we all know the truth now. Célimène is a trollop, a harlot, a strumpet, a tart. In other words, she is a player, and everyone is hating not just her game, but her.

In a dramatic scene involving some waving about of damning evidence, the truth is revealed. All the relationships in the play change. Célimène goes from being top dog to the bottom of the pack, and Philinte and Éliante go from being unrequited lovers to the only sane pairing in the play. Once everyone has said their piece, the play is not-quite-so-happily over.

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