The Misanthrope Essay

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In the following essay, Riggs examines what aspects make Alceste's character a comic one.

It is in teaching literature that the critic/professor is forcibly reminded of the continuing reality of literary problems that he or she may have come to regard as solved. It is in trying to explain to students the logic of a particular solution that the critic is often led to new realizations by the unexpected vitality of an "old" question. Each time I teach Le Misanthrope, I am obliged to confront the question of the play's being or not being entirely comic; and I find that each group of students' initial response to Alceste is much like the one expressed by Rousseau in his "Lettre ll d' Alembert sur les spectacles." For each group I must repeat-and, indeed, re-think the critical process whereby I arrived at the conviction that Alceste is an entirely...

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This section contains 1,552 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Misanthrope Study Guide
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The Misanthrope from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.