Study Guide

The Misanthrope Act 5

By Molière

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Act 5

Scene 1

  • Surprise, surprise, Alceste lost his case. He is amazed. No one else is. And of course he is raging about it.
  • He has to pay a bunch of francs to soothe this guy's bruised ego, so obviously now Alceste wants to become a hermit and leave society.
  • Philinte is trying to talk him out of it, like always.
  • Alceste is not listening, like always.

Scene 2

  • Oronte is at Célimène's house, asking her to prove that she loves him.
  • What is up with all these whiny, insecure dudes?
  • Suddenly, Alceste comes out of who-knows-what sketchy shadows he has been hiding in and demands the same thing.
  • The guys are ganging up on her, and Célimène can't even get a word in edgewise.
  • When she finally gets to talk, she says it's not fair to make her say that she doesn't love the one guy right in front of him.
  • Oronte and Alceste finally agree on something, because they both say they don't care.
  • She tries to get Éliante to help her, but we think this will not end well for Célimène.

Scene 3

  • As expected, Éliante will not play along with Célimène's little game.
  • The guys keep demanding that she tells them who she loves.

Scene 4

  • Okay, now everyone is here.
  • Acaste and Clitandre have come with some problem they have with Célimène.
  • Arsinoé has come saying that she wants to be a good friend but we're guessing she really just wants to see Célimène humiliated.
  • Acaste and Clitandre bring out some notes that she has written about all the guys present and well, this is the end of the line for Célimène.
  • The letter is so bad, talking smack about all of her "lovers" that we almost—almost—feel sorry for her.
  • If nothing else, reading this letter will teach you how to insult people properly. But don't say we didn't warn you, because: warning. Don't ever write anything down if you want to keep it a secret.
  • Ever.
  • When the reading is over, Clitandre and Acaste decide to take the letter on tour and tell everyone about Célimène's true nature.
  • Of course, they also break up with her.

Scene 5

  • Oronte tells Alceste that he can totally have her. Oronte is so over this chick.

Scene 6

  • Now it's Arsinoé's turn to bash Célimène and she tries to lure in Alceste at the same time.
  • But Alceste isn't having it. He lets her know that even if he leaves Célimène, he wouldn't be caught dead with her.
  • Arsinoé, being her usual self, denies that she ever had any interest in Alceste and leaves in a huff saying that the two deserve each other.
  • Whatevs, lady.

Scene 7

  • Finally it's Alceste's turn, but he is the only one blind enough to still love Célimène.
  • But there's just one condition. She's got to become a hermit, just like him.
  • She is not feeling this (she says 21 is too young, but wasn't she 20 a few pages ago? How old is she really?) and tries to make up another scheme, but Alceste stops her.
  • He's done with her for good.

Scene 8

  • Remember that Alceste promised that if Célimène was not true to him that he'd get with Éliante? Well, he is stuttering and making all kinds of excuses why he's not actually going to.
  • Éliante doesn't even blink, and is like, whatever, Philinte is my main boo now.
  • Plus, it was probably a total turn-off seeing him beg Célimène to stay with him.
  • So, the good people get together, the ugly people are all mad at each other, and Alceste is planning to go off and be a hermit.
  • For some reason, Philinte and Éliante are still trying to stop him.
  • And … the end.

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