Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
When someone greets us with a show of pleasure,
It's but polite to give him equal measure,
Return his love the best that we know how,
And trade him offer for offer, vow for vow. (1.1.38)
Yeah those things that Alceste is yelling about hating? They're called manners. Your momma (or some parental figure) taught you those.
But in polite society, custom decrees
That we show certain outward courtesies
Society, according to Philinte, is a series of rules that makes life go easier. You can't just ignore it. Society stops you from doing certain things in public, like yelling that people stink or spitting on the ground. (Or, at least it used to, if you can trust our grandparents.)
In certain cases it would be uncouth
And most absurd to speak the naked truth;
With all respect for your exalted notions,
It's often best to veil one's true emotions.
Wouldn't the social fabric come undone
If we were wholly frank with everyone? (1.1.74)
Philinte thinks that you've got to keep some things to yourself if society is going to run smoothly. But are we supposed to agree with him? We get the idea that Molière wants us to think that he is a bit of a liar, too.