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The Misanthrope


The Misanthrope, translated by Martin Crimp, is a blistering contemporary version of Molière’s Le Misanthrope, a fierce argument between conformity, manners, and destructive truth-telling.

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‘Crimp has treated Molière the way Molière had treated Plautus: he has seized on the timeless core of the story and recast it with wit and respect. The result is both a genuinely new version of Molière’s play and a homage to it. The writing it cool, sharp and ferociously funny… A thrillingly sophisticated modern version of a classical play.’ Sunday Times

Alceste abhors hypocrisy and the well-rehearsed, sycophantic pleasantries of the chattering classes. But having savaged Covington – a theatre critic who thinks he can write plays – Alceste goes on to attack Jennifer, the woman he really loves. What if his determination to tell the truth proves more destructive than their instinct to avoid it?

Molière’s greatest comedy, Le Misanthrope (1666), with its fierce argument between conformity and non-conformity, is reworked in this blistering contemporary version.

Martin Crimp’s version of The Misanthrope premiered at the Young Vic Theatre, London, in February 1996 and was revived at the Comedy Theatre, London, in November 2009.


Molière (1622-73) was born Jean Poquelin, the son of a prosperous upholsterer of Paris. His father was attached to the service of the King and Molière was intended to succeed him. However, in 1643 he changed his surname and joined a family of actors, the Béjarts. Encouraged by their touring success the group returned to Paris and performed in front…

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