Love is a many-splendored thing in The Misanthrope. It's a game, it's torture, it's being blind, it's all kinds of things. In other words? There is a lot of talk about it, but no one really seems to know what it is. All of the characters are defined by who they "love" but they're so insincere that love, just like everything else, has become a game that must be played. Unfortunately, it seems like only two of them are actually "in love." (And we're not even too sure about them.)

Questions About Love

  1. How could you characterize Alceste's idea of love? Does it seem to be shared by other characters?
  2. Why do you think people in the play keep philosophizing on love? What is each character's idea of love?
  3. Is anyone in this play actually in love? Or are they just playing around? Is love even possible in a world based around deception?

Chew on This

Éliante and Philinte are the only people actually in love; everyone else is just deluded.

Alceste really does love Célimène, just in a way that even he doesn't quite seem to understand.

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