The Middle Class Gentleman
Moliere
Novels
2:11 h
Level 9
Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, translated as The Bourgeois Gentleman, The Middle-Class Aristocrat, or The Would-Be Noble) is a five-act comédie-ballet – a play intermingled with music, dance and singing – written by Molière. Le Bourgeois gentilhomme satirizes attempts at social climbing and the bourgeois personality, poking fun both at the vulgar, pretentious middle-class and the vain, snobbish aristocracy. The title is meant as an oxymoron: in Molière's France, a "gentleman" was by definition nobly born, and thus there could be no such thing as a bourgeois gentleman.

The Middle Class Gentleman

(Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme)

by
Molière

Translated by Philip Dwight Jones


The Cast

Monsieur Jourdain, bourgeois.
Madame Jourdain, his wife.
Lucile, their daughter.
Nicole, maid.
Cléonte, suitor of Lucile.
Covielle, Cléonte’s valet.
Dorante, Count, suitor of Dorimène.
Dorimène, Marchioness.
Music Master.
Pupil of the Music Master.
Dancing Master.
Fencing Master.
Master of Philosophy.
Tailor.
Tailor’s apprentice.
Two lackeys.
Many male and female musicians, instrumentalists, dancers, cooks, tailor’s apprentices, and others necessary for the interludes.

The
scene is Monsieur Jourdain’s house in Paris.


Act One

Scene I (Music Master, Dancing Master, Musicians, and Dancers )

(The play opens with a great assembly of instruments, and in the middle of the stage is a pupil of the Music Master seated at a table composing a melody which Monsieur Jourdain has ordered for a serenade.)

MUSIC MASTER: (To Musicians) Come, come into this room, sit there and wait until he comes.

DANCING MASTER: (To dancers) And you too, on this side.

MUSIC MASTER: (To Pupil) Is it done?

PUPIL: Yes.

MUSIC MASTER: Let’s see…. This is good.

DANCING MASTER: Is it something new?

MUSIC MASTER: Yes, it’s a melody for a serenade that I set him to composing here, while waiting for our man to awake.

DANCING MASTER: May I see it?