Seventeenth-century French aristocrats felt pretty good about themselves. They were smart, they were sexy, they had awesome clothes (and hair), and they had great manners. (To your face.) And that's great and all, but it comes along with some pretty nasty traits, like hypocrisy, deceit, and betrayal. The Misanthrope has had just about enough of society manners. It wants aristocrats to maybe take off those wigs for a minute and just be real. But … maybe not too real.
Molière suggests that society brings out the worst in people.
In The Misanthrope, social rules organize relationships between people and keep things moving smoothly.