The Misanthrope and Other Plays Themes

The Misanthrope and Other Plays Themes


Misanthropy is the main theme in the play which is revealed in the title. The hatred towards all the humanity in the main characteristic of the protagonist, he hates people for both virtues and shortcomings. Misanthropy is understood as pessimism, lack of faith, suspiciousness, unsociability, disbelief. These all can be applied to characterize Alceste, and he goes even further, he refuses to continue living among people and leave to be alone away from society.


Love is another, and not less important, theme of the play. Celimene, Alceste’s beloved is a very beautiful woman, and has a lot of admirers. Alceste loves her enormously, but he disrespects her for being nice and polite with all the rest young men, he is sure she gives them hope. For her it is nothing but a game, and Alceste’s jealousy makes her angry, as she assures him he has nothing to worry about. Everyone in the play talks of love and higher feelings, but it seems that none of them really understands what love means. Even Alceste himself being in love with Celimene shows disrespect and scorn towards her, these feelings cannot be connected with love. He looks for sincerity, but he does not show it himself.


Another theme displayed in the play is the place of justice in society. As we know from the context Alceste has a court case, and he loses it. It is clear that the right has been on his side, but his opponent’s lying, fraud, and hypocrisy helped him to win over. Justice is not like it is supposed to be, and since those times not much has been changed. To look for justice one should have some relations, money and place in society.

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