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A Struggle

My last post on Molière’s Dom Juan is informative: the Russian connection. However, the text I published was replaced by various drafts. Nothing could lead me back to the text I had published. I returned the post to “private,” to no avail.

Moreover, whenever I tried to quote Molière, in French and English, my post disappeared.

One must keep humble, so I decided to stop working on it. It was published!

My main point is finding that “Dom Juan” (original spelling) is a comedy that uses the “deceiver deceived” (trompeur trompé) plot formula. Imagine a balloon and a needle. Dom Juan keeps defying heaven and earth and shows he is a mediocre human being, despite his rank, that of Grand Seigneur. By delaying the revenge, Dom Carlos shows that noblesse oblige. Dom Carlos is one of Done Elvire’s two brothers.

In Molière’s Dom Juan, the legendary burlador, is a méchant homme. He’s hoping his father will die as soon as possible. Dom Louis, Dom Juan’s father, believes that noblesse oblige. Aristocrats should be honnêtes hommes and never boast. According to La Rochefoucauld, un grand seigneur is an honnête homme and honnêteté precludes boasting: « L’honnête homme est celui qui ne se pique de rien ». A gentleman does not boast.

For Dom Juan, his title provides liberty. It’s a mask.

I did not include the scene where Dom Juan explains his “morality:” two and two are four. If two and two are four and four and four are eight, God strikes.

Nor did I include a brief discussion of love. According to Don Juan, love is kept alive through jealousy. One loves a person who is loved. Madame de La Fayette wrote a novel in which the moment love is reciprocated, it dies. Her novel, a masterpiece of psychological novel, is entitled La Princesse de Clèves (1678). It will be discussed separately.

Molière’s Dom Juan is “the last part in Molière’s hypocrisy trilogy, which also includes The School for Wives and Tartuffe.”

Erik Satie — Gymnopédies I et II, André Derain

© Micheline Walker
4 March 2019