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scène du jeune homme qui vient avouer le rapt, et que l'Avare prend pour le voleur. Mais on ose dire que Plaute n'a point assez profité de cette situation ; il ne l'a inventée que pour la manquer. Que l'on en juge par ce trait seul : l'amant de la fille ne paraît que dans cette scène ; il vient sans être annoncé ni préparé, et la fille elle-même n'y paraît point du tout.

“ Tout le reste de la pièce est de Molière, caractères, intrigues, plaisanteries ; il n'a imité que quelques lignes," etc.

The play unites most skilfully the extremes of high and low comedy. The subject-matter—the great passion of avarice—is serious enough, and the author goes beyond even the limits of comedy in some of the awful traits with which he has painted it. But, in detail, the treatment is lively and amusing, full of humorous scenes and situations, which overflow with fun and laughter, as well as with sharp satire. In the Miser himself the author has united a quick wit and ready repartee with the portrait of the most despicable vice, so that the character is still kept within the proper limits of comedy; and, though exciting the keenest contempt and ridicule, is yet preserved from strong aversion, or from tragic catastrophe. It has been objected that Molière did not punish the Miser more severely; but he better knew the true principles of his art. Yet, surely, the contempt of reader and spectator, the insolence of his servants, the rebellion of his children, the exposure and defeat of his shameful plans, and the perpetual torment of a degrading passion, are punishment enough to satisfy the sternest moralist-short of the retributions of tragedy, which did not lie within Molière's scope. The justification of this judgment, it is hoped, will be found in the play itself, which it would be unjust to anticipate by any analysis.

The name Harpagon, we may add, is itself significantfrom the Latin, out of the Greek-meaning a “Snatcher" (akin to Harpy), and was adopted by Molière from a Latin comedy. All the other personages, however well drawn or amusing, serve only to set the character of the Miser into light, and with remarkable skill all the incidents are made to serve this central purpose.

This edition has the same object as its predecessors (Le Cid, Athalie, Le Misanthrope). The Notes, it is hoped,, will be found to meet the wants of the student. Of various editions which have been consulted, the editor owes special obligations only to that of Fiebig and Leportier (Leipzig, 1856), and to the excellent Translation of Molière by H. Van Laun.

COLUMBIA, S. C., August, 1882.




HARPAGON, père de Cléante et d'Élise, et amoureux

de Mariane.*
ANSELME, père de Valère et de Mariane.
CLÉANTE, fils d'Harpagon, amant de Mariane.
ÉLISE, fille d'Harpagon.
VALÈRE, fils d'Anselme et amant d'Élise.
MARIANE, fille d'Anselme.
FROSINE, femme d'intrigue.
Maître SIMON, courtier.
Maître JACQUES, cuisinier et cocher.
LA FLÈCHE, valet de Cléante.
Dame CLAUDE, servante d'Harpagon.
LA MERLUCHE, } laquais d'Harpagon.
UN COMMISSAIRE, et son clerc.

(la scène est à Paris, dans la maison d'Harpagon.)

* See Introduction.

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