Study Guide

The Miser Isolation

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Harpagon isn't exactly what you'd call a people person. In fact, he's probably the most unpleasant human being that anyone in The Miser has ever met. And as you can imagine, this tends to isolate Harpagon from the people around him.

Whether or not the dude cares is something we're never quite clear about. He never gets to have one of those "If you cut us, do we not bleed?" human moments that Shylock does in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. All he really gets is a speech about how he'd rather hang everyone in Paris than lose a single cent of his money.

Questions About Isolation

  1. Do you think Harpagon is 100% responsible for his isolation from other people? Use specific evidence from the play to support your answer.
  2. Based on the ending of this play, will Harpagon continue to be in contact with his kids, or will he be left with only his money to keep him company? Why?
  3. Why do you think Jacques has a "soft spot" for Harpagon? How could anyone ever feel sympathy for the guy?

Chew on This

In The Miser, we are left thinking that being a miser and being alone always go together. It's impossible to be a sociable miser.

In The Miser, Molière shows us that even though Harpagon doesn't change, there is still hope for people who want to overcome their isolation and make a change for the better.

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