Argan in The Imaginary Invalid in 1913. Moscow Art Theatre production in le Malade imaginaire PDF. French playwright Molière with dance sequences and musical interludes by Marc-Antoine Charpentier.
En dépit d’une santé robuste, Argan est un hypocondriaque qui est persuadé qu’il est gravement malade. Il réclame les soins et l’attention de tous. Son tourment, bien réel, le fait recourir aux avis des médecins et des apothicaires, qui, prompts à la prescription, trouvent en lui une bonne vache à lait et lui font dépenser une fortune en traitements aussi nombreux qu’inefficaces. Le même désir d’être tenu pour souffrant le fait s’abandonner comme un enfant aux soins de Béline, sa seconde femme, qui est hypocrite et intéressée.
Pour se rassurer, il veut même donner pour époux à son aînée, Angélique, Thomas Diafoirus, jeune médecin et fils de médecin ridicule. Mais, amoureuse de Cléante, la jeune fille fait tout, avec la complicité de Toinette, la servante, pour refuser ce benêt qu’on veut lui imposer, et épouser celui qu’elle aime. Elle y parvient grâce à une ruse de Toinette qui contribue à démasquer Béline.
Molière had fallen out with the powerful court composer Jean-Baptiste Lully, with whom he had pioneered the comédie-ballet form a decade earlier, and had opted for the collaboration with Charpentier. Le malade imaginaire would turn out to be Molière’s last work. He collapsed during his fourth performance as Argan on 17 February and died soon after. Angélique, daughter of Argan, in love with Cléante. Louison, Argan’s young daughter, sister of Angélique.
Purgon, physician to Argan, who exploits his hypochondria. Thomas Diafoirus, his son, betrothed to Angelique by her father. He pays out only about half of what is on the bill. That done, he calls for his maid, Toinette. When she fails to appear immediately he shouts and calls her names until she arrives. Toinette is not interested in putting up with Argan’s temper, so she mocks his rage. While he is out, Angelique takes the opportunity to talk to Toinette.
We quickly find out that she has been talking almost non-stop about the qualities of a young man named Cléante since she met him at a play six days ago. She expects Cléante to ask her father if he can marry her, within a few days. Argan returns and expects to surprise his daughter when he tells her that someone has asked to marry her. He is shocked to find that she not only knows about it, but couldn’t be happier. Unfortunately, Angelique thinks he’s been talking about Cléante, while her father has promised his daughter to Thomas Diaforious, the son of a respected Paris doctor who is soon to be made a doctor himself. Toinette asks him why, with all his money, Argan would want a doctor for a son-in-law. He replies that since he is always ill, he thought it would be a good idea to have a doctor in the family.
Then he could have Thomas Diaforious’ services as doctor all the time, not to mention the services of his father and his uncle for free. Toinette will not take his hypochondria seriously and tells him that she knows Angelique will never agree to that marriage. Hearing the disturbance, Argan’s second wife Béline runs in. She soothes Argan, talking to him as one would to a child throwing a temper tantrum. She dramatically begs him not to think of such things, but just happens to have the notary to hand. Meanwhile, outside the study, Toinette and Angelique have a chance to talk in private. Toinette warns Angelique that her stepmother is plotting to get her inheritance, but Angelique does not care, so long as she is allowed to marry as she wishes.