Essay: Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Moliere

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This is an essay on Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Moliere. Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin) was born in Paris on January 15, 1622. His father was one of eight valets de chambre tapissiers who tended the king’s furniture and upholstery, so the young Poquelin received every advantage a boy could wish for.

Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin) was born in Paris on January 15, 1622. His father was one of eight valets de chambre tapissiers who tended the king’s furniture and upholstery, so the young Poquelin received every advantage a boy could wish for. He was educated at the finest schools (the College de Clermont in Paris.) He had access to the king’s court. But even as a child, Molière found it infinitely more pleasant to poke fun at the aristocracy than to associate with them. As a young boy, he learned that he could cause quite a stir by mimicking his mother’s priest. His mother, a deeply religious woman, might have broken the young satirist of this habit had she not died before he was yet twelve-years-old. His father soon remarried, but in less than three years, this wife also passed away. At the age of fifteen, Jean-Baptiste was left alone with his father and was most likely apprenticed to his trade.

The boy never showed much of an interest for the business of upholstering. Fortunately, his father’s shop was located near two important theatrical sites: the Pont-Neuf and the Hôtel de Bourgogne. At the Pont-Neuf, comedians performed plays and farces in the street in order to sell patent medicines to the crowds. Although not traditional theatre in the strictest sense, the antics of these comic medicine-men brought a smile to Jean-Baptiste’s face on many an afternoon. At the Hôtel de Bourgogne which the boy attended with his grandfather the King’s Players performed more traditional romantic tragedies and broad farces. Apparently, these two theatrical venues had quite an impact on the young Poquelin, for in 1643, at the age of twenty-one, he decided to dedicate his life to the theatre.

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