The Misanthrope Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 57 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Misanthrope.
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The overriding theme of The Misanthrope is honesty and hypocrisy. Alceste, the central character, is a misanthrope because he is disgusted by the hypocrisy that, in his view, characterizes human society. Alceste claims to be the only truly honest person he knows. As the play opens, he is criticizing Philinte for insincerely behaving with affection toward someone who is merely a mild acquaintance. When Oronte asks for A1ceste's opinion about the love sonnet he has written, Alceste is brutally honest in claiming that the poem is "trash" and that Oronte should refrain from ever writing another poem. Against Alceste's diatribes, Philinte argues for the value of insincerity in social interactions for the sake of the feelings of other people, as well as in the interest of endearing oneself to those with influence. Critical discussion of the character of Alceste, however, reveals that he may be...

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This section contains 986 words
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The Misanthrope from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.