Molière, the pen name of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, was a renowned French playwright and actor who left an indelible mark on the world of theater. Born on January 15, 1622, in Paris, France, Molière’s comedic genius and satirical wit made him a central figure in French literature. His plays, characterized by sharp social commentary, vibrant characters, and brilliant dialogue, continue to entertain and provoke thought centuries after his death.

Here are five notable plays by Molière that readers should discover:

“Tartuffe” (1664)
This satirical comedy exposes the hypocrisy and religious pretensions of the titular character, Tartuffe. Through hilarious situations and witty dialogue, Molière critiques religious fanaticism and portrays the dangers of blind faith.

“The Misanthrope” (1666)
In this comedic masterpiece, Molière presents Alceste, a man who despises social conventions and hypocrisy. The play explores themes of authenticity, truthfulness, and the difficulties of maintaining integrity in a world governed by social niceties.

“The School for Wives” (1662)
This farcical comedy tells the story of Arnolphe, a middle-aged man who seeks to mold a young girl into the perfect wife. Molière skillfully satirizes male ego, the pitfalls of possessiveness, and the dynamics of power in relationships.

“The Imaginary Invalid” (1673)
Molière’s final play, “The Imaginary Invalid,” combines comedy and critique of the medical profession. Through the character of Argan, a hypochondriac, Molière exposes the quackery and absurdities of the healthcare system.

“The Learned Ladies” (1672)
This satirical comedy presents the clash between intellectual pursuits and societal expectations in the realm of education. Molière humorously criticizes the misguided enthusiasm for knowledge and the challenges faced by women seeking intellectual fulfillment.

Molière’s plays continue to be performed and appreciated for their timeless humor, astute observations of human behavior, and social commentary. His works offer a window into the customs, manners, and foibles of his time while addressing universal themes that resonate with audiences across cultures and generations. Exploring Molière’s plays is an invitation to revel in his comedic brilliance and appreciate his enduring contributions to the world of theater.