The Game of Love and Chance

Love and Chance in Marivaux

Marivaux’s play "The Game of Love and Chance" is a short work composed in the Italian style of commedia dell’arte, using stock characters and humor to explore conventional themes. Specifically, "The Game of Love and Chance" is tailored to address the relationships between love, fortune, and factors such as reason and social class. Marivaux utilizes the social statuses and behaviors of the characters to suggest that love and chance, as seen through the prism of social class, are both powerful causal forces that overpower reason.

It becomes evident early on in the play that love and fortune are both potent causal forces. The effects of these combined forces are most clearly seen in the psychological states of the characters under their influence. For instance, the emotional stability of the upper-class young woman, Silvia, is referred to both indirectly and as a form of self-commentary. Silvia has fallen in love against her will with Dorante, a nobleman disguised as a simple valet. Other characters are first to notice the changes that take place in Silvia. The servant Lisette states that Silvia “grow[s] passionate” at the mere mention of Dorante, and says that she “[does] not understand [Silvia’s] vicious mood...

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