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Molière (1622)

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Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière, (; baptised January 15, 1622 – February 17, 1673) was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Among Molière's best-known works are Le Misanthrope , L'École des femmes , Tartuffe ou L'Imposteur, , L'Avare , Le Malade imaginaire , and Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme .

Born into a prosperous family and having studied at the Collège de Clermont (now Lycée Louis-le-Grand), Molière was well suited to begin a life in the theatre. Thirteen years as an itinerant actor helped him polish his comic abilities while he began writing, combining Commedia dell'arte elements with the more refined French comedy.

Through the patronage of a few aristocrats, including Philippe I, Duke of Orléans – the brother of Louis XIV – Molière procured a command performance before the King at the Louvre. Performing a classic play by Pierre Corneille and a farce of his own, Le Docteur amoureux , Molière was granted the use of salle du Petit-Bourbon near the Louvre, a spacious room appointed for theatrical performances. Later, Molière was granted the use of the Palais-Royal. In both locations he found success among the Parisians with plays such as Les Précieuses ridicules , L'École des maris and L'École des femmes . This royal favor brought a royal pension to his troupe and the title "Troupe du Roi" (The King's Troupe). Molière continued as the official author of court entertainments.

Though he received the adulation of the court and Parisians, Molière's satires attracted criticisms from moralists and the Roman Catholic Church. Tartuffe ou L'Imposteur and its attack on religious hypocrisy roundly received condemnations from the Church, while Dom Juan was banned from performance. Molière's hard work in so many theatrical capacities began to take its toll on his health and, by 1667, he was forced to take a break from the stage. In 1673, during a production of his final play, Le Malade imaginaire , Molière, who suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis, was seized by a coughing fit and a haemorrhage while playing the hypochondriac Argan. He finished the performance but collapsed again and died a few hours later.

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 death
Molière suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis, possibly contracted when he was imprisoned for debt as a young man. One of the most famous moments in Molière's life was his last, which became legend: he collapsed on stage in a fit of coughing and haemorrhaging while performing in the last play he'd written, which had lavish ballets performed to the music of Marc-Antoine Charpentier and which ironically was entitled Le Malade imaginaire . Molière insisted on completing his performance. Afterwards he collapsed again with another, larger haemorrhage before being taken home, where he died a few hours later, without receiving the last rites because two priests refused to visit him while a third arrived too late. The superstition that green brings bad luck to actors is said to originate from the colour of the clothing he was wearing at the time of his death.

Under French law at the time, actors were not allowed to be buried in the sacred ground of a cemetery. However, Molière's widow, Armande, asked the King if her spouse could be granted a "normal" funeral at night. The King agreed and Molière's body was buried in the part of the cemetery reserved for unbaptised infants.

In 1792 his remains were brought to the museum of French monuments and in 1817 transferred to Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, close to those of La Fontaine.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Molier", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.