Molière, Jean-Baptiste

BORN 15 Jan 1622, Paris - DIED 18 Feb 1673, Paris
BIRTH NAME Poquelin, Jean-Baptiste
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Père Lachaise, Rue du Repos 16 (division 25, ligne 01, P, 24)

Molière was born as Jean-Baptiste Popelin. His mother came from a wealthy family and she died when he was ten years old. He lived with his father Jean Poquelin, who had become a valet of Louis XIII in 1631. Molière studied as a lawyer but in 1643 he decided to become an actor. He left his father and founded the Illustre Théâtre together with the actress Madeleine Béjart. In 1645 it went bankrupt and he was arrested, but after 24 hours he was released. After that he started using the stage name Molière and he formed a new troupe with Madeline and they toured in the provinces. Armand, Prince of Conti became his patron at this time. In Lyon the troupe was joined by Mademoiselle Du Parc, who would become the lover of Jean Racine in the future.

In 1658 he performed in Paris for the king at the Louvre. On 18 November his "Les Précieuses Ridicules" was first performed at the Hôtel du Petit-Bourbon. Gradually he be became well known for his farces. On 20 February 1662 he married Armande Béjart. He believed her to be the sister of his lover Madeleine but she may have been an illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Modena and Madeline was her mother. He was criticised by several for his plays and for his private life, but the king supported him.

In 1664 "Tartuffe, ou L'Imposteur" was performed at Versailles. It caused a scandal and it was banned because it showed the hypocrisy of higher classes. His "Le Misanthrope" (1666) was less controversial but little successful. By 1667 he was ill and in 1672 Madeleine died. This was a heavy blow to him, but after this he wrote his successful "Les Fourberies de Scapin". In 1672 "Les Femmes savantes" was produced. He suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis and in February 1673 he collapsed on the stage after suffering a haemorrhage. He insisted on completing his performance, but shortly afterwards he collapsed again and he died a few years later.

Het was buried at a chapel cemerery of St. Joseph, but in 1792 what were presumed to be remains were moved to a church basement. After that it was kept in municipal offices before they moved to a sarcophagus in the Museum of French Monuments. After that museum closed they were reburied at Père Lachaise cemetery in 1817.


The gravesite of Jean de la Fontaine and Molière at Père Lachaise, Paris.
Picture by Androom (19 Nov 2006)


Molière - Wikipedia

Moll, Carl

Published: 28 Jul 2023
Last update: 27 Apr 2024