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The Misanthrope

The Misanthrope

by Molière

Analysis: Narrator Point of View

Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?

Third Person (Objective)

Man, we really wish that Molière hadn't written this in the third person objective. There is too much intrigue! We want to know what it going on, but just like in real life, we can't read anyone's thoughts. Come on, what's the fun in that? We know that The Misanthrope is a play, and so third person objective was almost a default, but we want to know what Célimène was thinking when Acaste and Clitandre aired her dirty laundry. Or, what was Éliante thinking when Alceste was begging to go out with her?

Using the third person objective makes it difficult to identify with the characters, because we don't know their thoughts or intentions. All we get is dialogue, with no stage directions or anything! But we are not so sure Molière wanted us to identify with the characters anyway. We watch everything unfold and follow the suspense just like the characters in the play. If we knew what they were thinking, there wouldn't be as much intrigue. Still, we can't help but wonder, what would this story be like if we knew what everyone was really thinking? What do you think?

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