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The Misanthrope
by Moliere "The Misanthrope", like most of Moliere's plays, has few women characters. There are three female individuals; one who plays a major role, and two who are considered as foil characters. Arsinoe, one of the foil characters, expresses Moliere's opinion that women are gossipers. The other female character is Eliante who foils out Alceste's passionate nature. Although foil characters are usually overlooked, this essay will focus on their roles, portraying their typical personalities obtained by the average person. "I visited, last night, some virtuous folk, and, quite by chance, of you they spoke . . . the quantity of gentleman you see and your by now notorious coquetry . . . I came to your defense as best as I could, . . assured them you were harmless, . . ." From this comment, the reader learns that Arsinoe told Celimene about the gossip she had with her friends and that Arsinoe doesn't really care about her. She is simply putting her down. "[Celimene] whom you love, and pretends to love you, is, I regret to say, unworthy for you." By saying this to Alceste, Arsinoe clearly shows that gossip can betray a friendship. However, Celimene uses the gossip technique as well. Celimene, in revenge, tells Arsinoe that a "conversation soon came around to [Arsinoe]. Your prudery and bustling zeal appeared to have a very slight appeal . . . one should learn the art of living well before one threatens men with hell." Moliere demonstrates through the use of gossip that women will betray and back stab anyone, even their friends. The implication Moliere expresse in this scene and other parts of the play is that women can't be trusted. The outcome of this is trust is gossip and lying; just like Celimene told all her suitors and be lovers that she only loved them. Alceste tells Eliante that his lover betrayed him and asked that "the faithful worship of mine will offer up to yours as to shrine." Eliante answers him that "You may have my sympathy in all you suffer." Here we see that Alceste is asking Eliante to sleep with him only because he was newly rejected. Eliante replies agreeingly. Alceste, having rejected Celimene, is in a state of awareness. He says to Eliante:"permit me ever to esteem you so, and if I do not request your hand . . . I sense that fate does not intend me for the married state." At first, Alceste wants to sleep with Eliante to get picked up off the rebound from being rejected by Celimene. This rejection gives Alceste emotional insecurity. Therefore, he doesn't marry Eliante either. Both Alceste and Celimene don't seem as if they are the typical male or female, but Eliante and Arsinoe express their characteristics they obtain, showing regularity. Alceste doesn't care about other peoples' feelings. He enjoys criticizing, but toward the end of "The Misanthrope", Eliante foils out his ability to sympathize. As for Celimene always surrounded by suitors, atypical from other women, shows how she is a typical lady, by means of gossip, instigated by Arsinoe. No matter how different people may seem, there are always characteristics shared among many people.

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