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Commedia dell’arte troupe I Gelosi in a late 16th-century Flemish painting (wiki2.org)

L’Étourdi (The Blunderer, or the Counterplots, c. 1653) is our next play by Molière. In fact, it is the last play we read, but although I wrote at least one post on every play, I have not always included dialogues. I will edit posts that require quotations. There will remain two short plays that are reflections on Molière’s use of the genre, by Molière and his troupe.

Once again, we have gradations within stock characters originating in the commedia dell’arte. Sbrigani, one of the zanni, is the very devil, but Mascarille, who helps Lélie, is a forgiving zanno.

Similarly, Molière’s plays feature excellent young lovers, such as the Bourgeois gentilhommes Cléonte, but Lélie, L’Étourdi, spoils the work done by Mascarille. Like all the jaloux, he is his own worst enemy, but he is not a jaloux.

Lélie is a scatterbrain. Every time Mascarille succeeds in his attempts to help Lélie marry Célie, Lélie spoils the stratagem. Célie, a slave bought by Trufaldin, can be purchased, but the play features an anagnorisis, a recognition scene.

Isabella was a young lover.


Isabella par Maurice Sand (Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
5 February 2020