Molière — by his real name, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin — is an actor, dramatist, and director who reformed French comedy in the 17th century.
At age 21, Molière decided to pursue a stage career and he did so at the highest level. He was adored by the court and his audience, but his sense of humor also received strong criticism from the Church and moralists, as in one of his plays – Tartuffe ou l’Imposteur – he seriously mocked religious hypocrisy. Don Juan was another bold performance that was eventually banned.
Molière left this world in a blaze of glory, and his last moments became legend. Jean-Baptiste Poquelin suffered from tuberculosis and collapsed on stage while performing in the last play he had written – Le Malade Imaginaire. Despite his poor condition, he insisted on finishing what he had started. Moliere collapsed again and was taken home, where he died after a few hours.
His masterpieces excite us to this very day. Times have changed, but people and morals are strikingly similar to those of Moliere’s times, so if you haven’t crossed upon any of his work yet, you should read at least one of Molière’s satires for a good laugh. Until then, here are 25 Molière quotes to make you love speaking the truth.
Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.
Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and then for money.
The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.
A learned fool is more a fool than an ignorant fool.
It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.
Life is a tragedy to those who feel and a comedy to those who think.
It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I’m right.
We die only once, and for such a long time.
Hypocrisy is a fashionable vice, and all fashionable vices pass for virtue.
One ought to examine himself for a very long time before thinking of condemning others.
Beauty without intelligence is like a hook without bait.
Man, I can assure you, is a nasty creature.
A wise man is superior to any insults which can be put upon him, and the best reply to unseemly behavior is patience and moderation.
One must eat to live and not live to eat.
Each day my reason tells me so; But reason doesn’t rule in love, you know.
Without knowledge, life is no more than the shadow of death.
Unbroken happiness is a bore: it should have ups and downs.
Of all follies there is none greater than wanting to make the world a better place.
Ah! What a fine thing it is to know something!
The duty of comedy is to correct men by amusing them.
What a terrible thing to be a great lord, yet a wicked man.
Flatterers are always to blame for the vices which prevail among mankind.
Like many humorless and indignant people, he is hard on everybody but himself, and does not perceive it when he fails his own ideal.
I want to be distinguished from the rest; to tell the truth, a friend to all mankind is not a friend for me.
People don’t mind being mean, but they never want to be ridiculous.