Study Guide

The Miser Writing Style

By Molière

Writing Style

Accessible, Melodramatic

For something that's over 300 years old, The Miser is written in a very readable, easy-to-understand way. The play contains none of the dense poetic speeches you'll find in Shakespeare, but instead gets right to the point and lays out the character's thoughts and motives for you in a clear way.

Check out this passage, for example, from the beginning of the play, in which Harpagon is convinced La Flèche has stolen money from him:
"It's a terrible worry having such a large sum of money in the house […] It's difficult finding a safe hiding-place anywhere in this house" (1.4.1). It ain't going to get any more straightforward than that.

But the fact that the language in The Miser is easily digestible, that doesn't mean that the characters don't turn the whole emotion thing up to 11. They get pretty wild. The script can read at times like a bizarre-o 17th Century reality show. So. Many. Feels.

"I'll kill myself rather than marry a man like that!" (1.4.95), shouts Élise. And then, if she was a 21st Century damsel in distress, she throws a wine glass against a wall and slides to the floor weeping. "What with talk like that and your extravagance, someone will turn up one of these days and slit my throat because they think I've got money coming out of my ears!" (1.4.31), says Harpagon, being a total diva. In the context of this quote, 'extravagance' means 'wearing clothes that aren't rags.' Totally warrants a throat-slitting, bro.

The melodrama is part of what makes The Miser so enjoyable though. What's funnier than watching a bunch of lovesick/ money-hungry people getting confused? Watching a bunch of lovesick/money-hungry people getting confused and super-melodramatic.

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