John Baptiste Poquelin was born in Paris, France on the fifteenth of January, in the year 1622 (The Literature Network). He is popularly known as Moliere, from a well-off family of a long line of skilled workers, artisans, and tradesmen. During that time, it was his father’s assignment to provide furniture for the king. Moliere’s mother passed away when he was still young, leaving him no choice but to endure the harsh and stringent upbringing of his father. (McNeil) His father put Moliere to school, in a prominent and esteemed educational institution, the College de Clermont. This college, where he took up law, was handled by the Jesuits. (Classic Reader)
His fathers’ efforts will soon be overlooked when shortly after entering College de Clermont, Moliere decided to leave and establish a theatrical ensemble, the Illustre Theatre. Moliere founded Illustre Theatre in the year 1643, with the help of a comrade, Madeleine Bejart. The success of the theatre was short lived, as it only lasted for three years after a great deal of effort and exertion from the founders of Illustre Theatre. During his days in Illustre Theatre, he adapted Moliere as his stage name. (McNeil) It is uncertain whether the name Molier was taken and adapted from the name of city or a village in Southern France (McNeil) or from his experiences with a band of theatrical artists who traveled all over the country (TheatreHistory).
After closing up Illustre Theatre, Moliere left France and relocated to other places in France, particularly in the villages of provinces, where he was able to reinforce his already evident niche in writing and acting in stage plays. His experiences in various places in France, most especially in theatre management, playwriting, and stage acting, equipped Moliere with the utter theme or premise for his future stage plays. After a twelve-year stay in the provinces, Moliere returned to Paris to establish and continue his chosen profession as a playwright and stage actor. (TheatreHistory)
Moliere was victorious during his return to Paris. However unsuccessful in his previous attempt to establish a theatrical ensemble, his homecoming to Paris acquired him praises and recognition from the brother of the king Louis XIV. This much-needed support from a renowned member of society enabled him to establish repeated performances for his stage plays. Eventually, Moliere was able to conduct regular theatrical performances. (Classic Reader)
During this time, Moliere’s subject of interest in playwriting has shifted to comedic musicals. Song and dance productions or presentations were now included in his usual plays consisting of dramatic scenes. Moliere made this so to make his stage plays light and entertaining for his spectators. The “Les Précieuses Ridicules” was Moliere’s first play, which has received wide acceptance and popularity. Moliere’s next production called “The School for Wives” trailed his success in recognition and fame. Moliere’s themes or subjects in his comedic musicals often leaned to his satirical take on poverty, the wealthy class of society, and even gender equality. Classic Reader) Moliere eventually married in his forties, to a woman younger than he for twenty years did. He married Armande Bejart in 1622, the younger sister of his comrade, Madeleine Bejart. Armande Bejart was also a fellow actor. Not only was Illustre Theatre a failure, as his relationship with Armande Bejart also shared part in the desolate times of his life. Adding to this dismal spell was the death of their son, Louis. (TheatreHistory).
The increasing popularity of Moliere’s stage plays has caught the attention of some major groups in society. One of his plays, “Tartuffe,” was even prohibited by the Jansenists to be played in public. However, Moliere still went on writing and producing stage plays. In 1675, Moliere died because of an incident that happened on stage. (Classic Reader) His most successful works are the “Tartuffe,” “Amphitryon,” “Don Juan,” and “The Misanthrope,” among others. (TheatreHistory)
TheatreHistory. 26 Feb. 2008. Jean Baptiste Poquelin de Moliere. 2002. <http://www.theatrehistory.com/french/moliere006.html>
Classic Reader. 26 Feb. 2008. Jean Baptiste Poquelin Moliere. 2005. <http://www.classicreader.com/author.php/aut.136/>
The Literature Network. 26 Feb. 2008. Jean Baptiste Poquelin Moliere. 2008. < http://www.online-literature.com/moliere/>
McNeil, Russell. 26 Feb. 2008. Jean-Baptiste Poquelin. 2006. <http://www.malaspina.org/moliere.htm>