Summary and Info
Through the inner springs of Harpagon —a paragon of the miser and the avaricious money lender— Moliere delves into the psychology of this repulsive literary prototype. Balzac continued the study of such characters; especially in his novel Gobseck. Yet, this characters seems to appear in all societies: Shakespeare’s Shylock, and Dickens’ Scrooge in England, and Perez Galdos’s Torquemada in Spain.When Valere pronounces a maxim —found in Cicero’s treatise on rhetoric, Ad Herennium— “frugality should reign in the meals which one offers; and that according to the saying of an ancient, we must eat to live, and not live to eat,” Harpagon is all ears and rejoices in its repetition, and wishes to commit it to memory.Harpagon, despite all his avaricious sins, never loses his passion for money, finding redemption in the peculiar love he shows for his family. So, in Moliere’s play he isn’t the heartless and cruel creature, but a character that finds his own humanity in the love of his daughter.
More About the Author
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière (/moʊlˈjɛər/; French: [mɔ.ljɛːʁ]; 15 January 1622 – 17 February 1673), was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature.
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