Molière: 5 cult lines that you probably use without knowing it

Author of some thirty plays, Molière wrote thousands of verses. And it’s a safe bet that some of his lines have already found their way into the mouths of his fellow citizens without them even knowing it.

As we celebrate this Saturday, January 15, the 400e birthday of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, here are five repartee that the French certainly know, or even have pronounced, whether literally or by reworking it somewhat, without sometimes even knowing that they were quoting the illustrious playwright Molière.

When it’s for eight…

Gathering around a meal with friends or family is indisputably part of the art of living “à la française”. Sometimes it happens that a few guests invite themselves at the last minute, which generally gives rise to a “When there is food for eight, there is good for ten”. A reply that we find in “The miser” more precisely in the mouth of Harpagon, eaten away by avarice: “We will be eight or ten; but it should only be taken for eight. When there is food for eight, there is enough for ten”.

But what did he do in this mess

Who did not exclaim one day, listening to the misadventures of a third party: “But what did he do in this galley”. Another reply to be attributed to the playwright who in “Les deceits de Scapin” makes Géronte say in a more sustained way: “But what the hell was he going to do in this galley?”. The term “galley” evoking of course at the time a ship.

Who wants to drown his dog….

“Who wants to drown his dog accuses him of rabies”. If this somewhat outdated expression, it must be admitted, has certainly gone out of fashion, perhaps you have already heard it. She is featured in “Les femmes savantes”. However, this expression was not invented by Molière himself, since this proverb, meaning that a person wishing to harm another, will always find a pretext to do so even if it means slandering him, dates back to the 13th century. .

Cover that breast that…

It is certainly one of Molière’s best-known lines that has passed into everyday language. Although sustained, it is not uncommon to hear here and there a “Cover this breast that I cannot see”. A line written by Jean-Baptiste Poquelin for his “Tartuffe”, which we find in the mouth of his false devotee: “Cover this breast that I cannot see. By such objects the souls are wounded, And that brings up guilty thoughts”. The play, which attacks the hypocrisy of the church, was first censored the day after its first performance in 1664, prompting Molière to rewrite it twice before it could be performed.

Your beautiful eyes

Far from wanting to attribute to Molière the expression “You have beautiful eyes, you know”, it would be heresy, the fact remains that Jean-Baptiste Poquelin signs in “Le bourgeois gentilhomme” a reply which goes without saying. close. With his “Belle Marquise, your beautiful eyes make me die of love” put in the mouth of Monsieur Jourdain, the playwright offers one of the funniest scenes of his ballet comedy.

It also gives rise to a hilarious grammar lesson while her tutor launches into a well-known cheerful tirade: “We can put them first as you said:” Beautiful Marquise, your beautiful eyes make me die of love ” . Or: “I die of love, beautiful Marquise, your beautiful eyes”. Or else: “Your eyes, beautiful with love, make me die, beautiful Marquise”. Or: “Die your beautiful eyes, beautiful Marquise, make me love”. Or else: “Your beautiful eyes make me die, beautiful Marquise, of love”.

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