By Ruby Harris
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin was one of the most prominent comedic playwrights of Europe during the 17th century. “Molière”, his stage name, was first documented in 1644 when his plays were in the making. Molière's plays were so desired because they were not directed to a certain class of people. His plays were meant to bring joy to the lives of royalty and to the common people alike. Unfortunately, since Molière only traveled through France, his plays did not earn their true recognition across Europe during his lifetime. Their popularity only increased years after his time.
Molière didn't start off with the intent of being a playwright. In fact, he was going to follow in the footsteps of his father, a furnisher for the many palaces of Paris. However, theater had always been a deep passion of his. By the time he was in his twenties, Molière had created his own theater company (La Troupe de Molière) and had immediate success. He and his partner, Madeleine Bejart, toured the great cities of France and gained so much popularity that after viewing Molière’s play at the Louvre Palace, King Louis XIV ensured Molière's plays were widely accessible to the public around France. However, as his plays became in high demand, the pressure of the audience drove Molière into poor health; he later died at the age of 51, unexpectedly ending his triumphant career.
Throughout Molière's life, he would not have had the same success without his dedication. If Molière were still alive today producing successful plays and seeing how his plays have been staged throughout history, he would be one of the most famous people in the world. And although Molière's plays did not travel beyond France at the time, many playwrights became highly influenced by his unique theatrical visions. His plays encouraged improvisation and created lively scenes to emphasize his comedic dialogues. Molière’s plays were certainly popular; however centuries after his death they have never been more recognized. Now, Molière's plays can be read and seen all around the world. In the present day, we have the technology to allow easy access to all his plays, as well as to enjoy them in our own tongue as well as the original French, as translated into several different languages. Even students from the Midwest are reading and studying Molière’s plays.
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