“Hypocrisy is now a fashionable vice, and all fashionable vices pass for virtues…All the other vices of mankind are subject to censuré, and anyone is free to upbraid them roundly, but hypocrisy is a privileged vice which knows how to silence every tongue and enjoy a perfect impunity. The hypocrite, by means of pious pretenses, attaches himself to the company of the devout,….The true believers are easily hoodwinked by the false, and blindly second those who ape their piety. I can’t tell you how many men I know who, by means of a feigned devotion, have glossed over the sins of their youth, wrapped themselves in the cloak of religion, and in that holy disguise are now free to be the worst of scoundrels!”
Don Juan by Molière is a play of religious satire. Modeling his protagonist on the Spanish legendary antihero Don Juan, Molière’s creates a villain, whose amoral conquests leave many women ruined, and his atheist views leave his family and his valet Sganerelle, scandalized. It is through and through a dialogue on the religious and social hypocrisy of the French upper-class society. Although other characters were brought to shape the story, it is through Don Juan’s antics and Sganerelle’s feeble attempts at remonstrating his master’s conduct, trying his best to inject some religious beliefs to reform him, that brings out the full satire which was intended by Molière. The play was banned after its first fifteen performances which clearly shows that the message intended was indeed driven home.
From a modern point of view, the play is highly entertaining. It is perhaps the most hilarious play I’ve read. I nearly choked with laughter. Believe me, after reading the play, my whole ribcage was aching. If I had watched this being performed, I would have suffered some serious accident in a fit of laughter. 🙂
This play was brought to my notice when I needed a good cheer. From what you read of how I reacted, you are correct in guessing that I was very much restored to my good humour. If anyone wants some humour and satire to cheer your mood, this will be a good boost. 🙂