Les Femmes Savantes (“The Learned Women”), 1672
The life of a rich bourgeois family is disrupted by the mother’s obsession with learning. Her older daughter Armande, and her sister-in-law Bélise follow suit in her excessive academic pretension. Armande who was once in love with Clitandre has given up the lowly idea of marriage to devote herself to studying. Turned off by her disdain for love, Clitandre has fallen in love with Henriette, Armande’s younger sister. As to Bélise, she is also a Précieuse, a coquettish, affected (older) lady, who is completely self-deluded: she believes that all men, including Clitandre, secretly burn for her. And truly, if it were not for Bélise, the plot would be bittersweet, as it is often the case with Molière’s grandes comédies. Then enters Bélise, the extravagant one, and Martine the little servant with her feet solidly planted in the ground, and everyone starts to laugh. Melancholy is forgotten with the fall of the curtain. This is Molière.