Beth on "The Bourgeois Gentleman"
-Barzun notes that under Louis XIV the bourgeois was virtually in power (292)
-foolishness of Monsieur Jordain
-not knowing that he spoke in prose all his life
-getting angry over a suit not arriving as to call the tailor a wretched scoundrel and an "odious, detestable, treacherous dog of a tailor"
-this concern all over a silly suit and silk stockings reminded me of Barzuns description of the time about how the crowd kept continually busy, "getting new clothes, wondering and arguing about the moves to make, the words to say (p.288)"
-being easily tricked/swayed at the end when he believes the tailor who tells him that all "folk of quality" wear their flowers towards the floor
-the same example shows how he tries to, as Barzun puts it, "hobnob with the aristocracy (345)" but is unable to
-common sense of Monsieur Jordain
-Barzun describes how he "sees through the verbiage of the philosophers"
-prefers the common and clearest arrangement of words for his letter
-foolishness of time
-Philosophy Master suggesting drawing out his letter with ornate style as opposed to telling her what comes from his heart naturally
-he suggests many odd ways of arranging the words that sometimes didnt make sense (eg. "Your lovely eyes, fair Marquise, die of love; make me")
-after all that he picks the arrangement that Monsieur Jordan thought of in the first place
-theses characteristics all fit into those of the "Reign of Etiquette"
-Louis XIVs court was a daily drama
-in fact, while traveling in his troupe for 12 years, Moliere made use of vivid words and idioms spoken by the people (Barzun, 346).
Cynthia on the same play
-Philosophy Master: "You really should draw out the thing a bit."
This is Moliere's way of saying that life at Versailles is like a ceremony. Everyday activities are drawn out and if they are too short, they are encouraged to be made longer.
-Monsieur Jordan: "And to think: I've never studied, yet I did that one right on the first go!"
Monsieur Jordan can be representative of Louis. Jordan sought help from the Philosophy Master, just as Louis did from his many advisors.
Neither Jordan or Louis probably needed the help, but wanted to make the others around them feel helpful/useful.
-Monsieur Jordan: "That confounded tailor has kept me waiting the whole day long...A plague upon the rascal of a tailor!"
Again, Jordan is representative of Louis. Louis would become upset if people didn't show up, just as upset Jordan is when the tailor is late. Both Louis and Jordan expect things done and people present on time.
-Monsieur Jordan: "The folk of quality wear their flowers towards the floor? Oh, yes, well, that's all right then." Jordan wants to impress the "folks of quality" (nobles) by wearing what they wear. He wants to show that he is a "folk of quality" as well. Louis proved himself a "folk of quality" not by the clothes he wore, but by the power he had over others. Moliere is trying to show that Louis considered himself of high power, which he was.
Chrissy's views on the play
"...before you go, I must confide to you a secret. I am in love with a lady of great rank and quality, and wish to ask your help in writing her a note which I intend to drop most casually at her feet."
-this quote from the play claims that he is in love, and it is someone of high standings in society. This is different from Louis XIV because he was never in love; he always just had mistresses. He would basically see women that he found desirable, no matter what their social position, and sleep with them, siring illegitimate children eight times with only one mistress that he had for fourteen years. This mistress, Athenais de Mortemart was found on an altar, only with a black cloth covering half of her body. She was chosen for the "king's use," and their time spent together was not based on love, but on his physical attraction towards her.
-When Monsieur says he is going to need help in writing the letter, it reminds us of how Louis always needed help in his court. He always had the best nobles sitting beside him, and was always receiving help from others. He could hardly ever do anything for himself, even something as simple as writing a letter.
"But of those several ways which is the best?"
"The one you came up with on your own: "Fair Marquise, your lovely eyes make me die of love."
"And to think: I've never studied, and yet I did that one right on the first go! I thank you from the bottom of my heart..."
-This was a conversation between the two, and basically the person that is supposedly a master of philosophical writings is telling the Monsieur that his quote that he stated was better than all of the one's that he was able to come up with himself. The Monsieur basically gets very cocky and acts as if he were more intelligent than the philosopher, despite the fact that he had asked him for help in the first place. This little conversation basically shows how Louis XIV liked to be treated. He loved to hear people give him compliments, and the more he received, the more he would like the person that was saying them. Since everyone feared Louis anyways, they all paid him compliments to remain on good terms with him. It did not matter in this case whether or not the quote was the best one, because no matter what, he knew that he was going to be told that his was the best, which was the same thing for Louis. He always came out on top in his court.
(In this scene, the Master Tailor has come with some of Monsieur's clothing that he had designed and fixed. This picks up where the tailor is telling the Monsieur how the flowers on a jackiet are worn)
"At court they wear them all the other way"
"The folk of quality wear their flowers towards the floor?"
"The fashion that the nobles most adore"
"Oh, yes, well, that's all right then....No, you did right. This is the way I....meant."
-In this dialogue the Monsieur is first complaining and questioning the tailor on the work that he did. He did not like the way the flowers were sewn onto his jacket, and he argued that they were in the wrong direction that he wanted them. As soon as the tailor tells him that they are sewn on in the direction that all the other nobles have them sewn on, the Monsieur completely changes his mind, yet still seems to question his decision. Louis XIV acted like the Monsieur did in this scene for a few different reasons. At first, the Monsieur was complaining because the tailor was not on time, and he was angry about it. Louis was the exact same way. He had a big issue with regularity, and he wanted things to be his way and run by his clock. He also would have probably gotten angry if that was he in that situation. Secondly, the Monsieur changed his mind as soon as he knew that was the style that everyone was going for. He was easily convinced as Louis was, and he could have thought that if he wore the flowers any other way, he might not have been complimented. He did not want to be different from anyone else, and he definitely did not want to appear any different from the other nobles. Louis had to be like them, he had to fit in, he had to be loved. Lastly, in the end of the conversation, it did not seem as if the Monsieur was totally convinced that that was what he wanted. Louis could have been like that in reality also. Despite the fact of whether or not he wanted something, if other nobles were not doing it, he would not also. He always relied on others to make decisions for him, and it was exactly the same in this situation.
Ashley's notes on "Tartuffe"
The Court of Versailles
-"his weak point, namely, his love of hearing his own praises. There was nothing he liked so much as flattery That was the only way to approach him" this quote [from Saint-Simon] is in reference to Louis XIV
-"He liked also, as he rode through the lines, to hear people praising his dignified bearing and fine appearance on horseback" also reflecting his conceited nature
-"His mind was occupied with small things rather than with great, and he delighted in all sorts of petty details, such as the dress and drill of his soldiers; and it was just the same with regard to his building operations, his household, and even his cookery." everything had to be just so, and as a result people would go to great lengths to try to please him
-"for even preachers used to praise him to his face from the pulpit - was the cause of the aggrandizement of his Ministers." shows how they flattered him to get what they wanted
-"he availed himself of the frequent festivities at Versailles, and his excursions to other places, as a means of making the courtiers assiduous in their attendance and anxious to please him" shows how he manipulated his people into doing things for him to be on his good side; also shows how people would actually do this
-"he expect all persons of distinction to be in continual attendance at Court" in order to be on his good side, once again a minor detail but a pain for them to do
-"if he addressed any one, were it but to ask a trifling question or make some commonplace remark, all eyes were turned on the person so honored" shows the motive for their flattery and favors to Louis
-"in his Court; to spend money freely on equipages and buildings, on feasting and at cards, was a sure way to gain his favor, perhaps to obtain the honor of a word from him" again shows the motive for the people of the court to be overly nice to him and go through with all of his wishes, so that they will gain his approval and it will be to their benefit
-"he compelled his courtiers to live beyond their income, and gradually reduced them to depend on his bounty for the means of subsistence." shows more ways he would manipulate people into doing things for his approval, also shows that they actually did
-in conclusion, the ministers and the people of the court would flatter Louis to receive personal gain
-I doubt they really meant all of the things they would tell him in their adulation, but rather they did it to get on his good side
-they did it to gain power, status, reputation, etc.
-became hypocrites because they pretended to have nothing but love and admiration for him but in reality probably couldnt stand him
-Louis manipulated the people into doing these things for him for his own gain as well
-Tartuffe is about a man who stays with a family in which everyone knows he is a phony except for the one person that matters; the husband he signs over everything to Tartuffe and then realizes the person that he really is when his wife sets him up in front of her husband - he is seen as the epitome of a hypocrite in this play dealing with piety
-"what if your daughters wedding has now brought/ you to the point of warming this lust" reveals that his current situation with the wife is based on lust: one of the seven deadly sins- but if he is pious, how is that so?
-"Is that what bothers you? A churchish fear?/ If that is all, then we are free and clear!/ You need not fret yourself about Gods laws" tells Elmire that it is okay to be with him even though she is married and he is to marry her daughter; denounces Gods laws by saying not to worry about them- shows IMPIETY
-"its true that heaven frowns on some dark acts,/ though with great men, our lord makes higher pacts" says more or less that he is exempt from Gods laws because he is so great - no religious person would ever think that (also reflects the attitude of Louis towards himself)
-"Ill teach to you of sciences subtle ways,/ to clear your conscience and to ease your days./ for now though, let us finish what we started,/ if sin there is, be it on me imparted" talks about sciences ways - science is the enemy of religion, so how is it that he can believe in both? He is basically saying "lets go sin" [science here may refer to theology, "the queen of the sciences"]
-"Now, if youre still concerned, know heaven winks,/ at carnal joys known quietly in private./ Its whiff of scandal, draws out heavens wrath,/ and silent sin still sticks to heavens path" saying that if no one finds out that they have sinned, it wont count as one - impiety once again
-"Your husband? Why concern about that rube?/ he drinks in every story like a boob!" throughout the play he flatters her husband- this is another degree of hypocrisy shown that is parallel to that of the Court of Louis
-the hypocrisy of Tartuffe is paralleled with that of the Court because he pretends he is someone he is not; he flatters his hosts, and he acts very pious, but in reality could care less about religion and thinks very lowly of the people he is staying with. He does it for his own benefit- so that he will gain their property among other things. The court is very much like this in Versailles because they flatter Louis and pretend they are someone they arent to gain approval and status
Elizabeth's notes on the Maxims
Barzun writes, "This King's and others' adventures in love, by being open and continual, made observant minds reflect on the human emotions. Their interplay in heart-and-mind, their consequences in society, and their role in history, became a subject of study by French playwrights, tragic and comic, and especially by essayists of the kind called politique et moraliste" (Pg. 291). This quote encapsulates Barzun's summation of the commentary made by such authors as LaRochefoucauld and Moliere. Below are LaRochefoucauld's Maxims, and how they were social criticisms of "The Reign of Etiquette", and more specifically to the Louis XIV's court at Versailles.
· "If we never flattered ourselves we should get very little pleasure indeed."
*Louise XIV lived by flattery. Though Barzun does not concentrate on this element of the court, we know, through Saint-Simon's account of life at court how flattery was an omnipresent aspect of life at Versailles. This comment from LaRochefoucauld may be poking fun of the idea that Louis' only happiness was derived from flattery.
· "Neither the sun nor death can be looked at steadily."
*While this quote doesn't seemingly link directly to the court, I think that it relates to the idea that Louis and his court took advantage of living life to its fullest. Through sex, gambling, endless parties and ceremonies those in Louis XIV's court were avoiding the idea of mortality, in a sense they were avoiding looking at death "steadily".
· "The extreme enjoyment we find in talking about ourselves should make us fear that we are not giving very much to our audience."
*Again, this maxim likely relates to the excessive flattery present at the court. This comment brings to light the fact that while some like to promote their good qualities, as Louis did, those listening may not have derived such pleasure from being on the receiving end of the boasts.
· "In daily life we are more often liked for our defects than for our qualities."
*This maxim can be linked to the fact that Louis was set apart in many ways from his subjects, and even some members of court. Barzun writes, ".making him (in our favorite phrase) 'more human,' they set him apart from the rest of mankind" (Pg. 289) Possibly Louis' lack of apparent defect may have made him seem more human by some standards, while it worked to make him less likeable. Conversely, it may be thought that his less than ideal upbringings may have resulted in qualities that made his subjects and members of court identify with him. Louis was the product of a broken home, something many of his followers may have been able to relate to.
"Our minds are better employed in bearing the misfortunes that do befall us than foreseeing those that may."
*I think this maxim from LaRochefoucauld links to the fact that Louis XIV's views of war [and] glory encouraged the prospect that Louvois could lead his glorious France to be a "warmonger nation" (Pg. 294). While Louis could not foresee this misfortune he was nonetheless able to deal with it.
· "To try to be wise all on one's own is sheer folly."
*This links nicely to the fact that Louis was smart enough to surround himself with those more intelligent than himself, like Colbert (something Machiavelli would encourage and commend). Members of court were of the highest of breeds which helped add dynamic and intellect to the court.
· "Some bad qualities make great talents."
*Maybe this can relate to the idea that Colbert, the borderline obsessive-compulsive was able to construct order in the economic state of France. His very regimented record keeping helped to make, "France.the workshop of Europe" (Pg. 293)
. "Few people are wise enough to prefer useful criticism over treacherous flattery."
*What a poignant and blunt verbal thrash to the king! Louis XIV positively preferred flattery over useful criticism, and likely to his detriment; the king was whimsical, not practical, and he preferred things that were easy to hear rather than things that would be useful to his rule.
Melissa chose several of the same maxims
"In daily life we are more often liked for our defects than for our qualities."
" but he also liked order and regularity in all things; he was naturally prudent, moderate, and reserved; always master of his tongue and his emotions." "He was also naturally kind-hearted and just. God had given him all that was necessary for him to be a good King, perhaps also to be a fairly great one."
These are the good qualities Louis possessed, however, in daily life people did not think of Louis like this. Instead they thought of him as a man of drama and extreme extravagance. He was concerned with the little details, the entertainment, and the ceremonies. He was too caught up in rich fun at Versailles that he was linked to that extravagance rather than to his qualities for being a fine king.
"To try to be wise all on one's own is sheer folly."
-Louis was aware that his "natural talents were below mediocrity; but he had a mind capable of improvement, of receiving polish, of assimilating what was best in the minds of others without slavish imitation; and he profited greatly throughout his life from having associated with the ablest and wittiest persons, of both sexes, and of various stations"
-He knew he wasnt wise on his own, so he associated with people who would improve his thinking so that he would become wiser and get a more intelligent opinion on matters he was not knowledgeable about.
"We try to make virtues out of the faults we have no wish to correct."
"All his faults were produced by his surroundings. In his childhood he was so much neglected that no one dared go near his rooms." It is said that his faults were caused by his surroundings, but maybe the "faults" that he developed when he was growing up with a single parent were not really faults at all. He would never have viewed them as faults. His surroundings included his step-father Mazarin. What Mazarin instilled in Louis was a way to rule; people may regard it as faults, but since it was what Louis grew up with, he was not going to change it, it was what he thought was right. Mazarin taught Louis the "necessity of taming the nobles" and making "etiquette serve as an anti-revolutionary force" (Barzun 286).
"Our enemies are nearer the truth in their opinion of us than we are ourselves."
If it is to be true that Louiss greatest flaw was that he was caught up in all his praise, then his enemies would have an opinion about him far less flattering than he did. If he was praised all the time of course his head was going to become big and his ego huge. He would never see his flaws or bad qualities like the enemies would. The enemies arent searching for and praising his good characteristics like the people at Versailles were, instead the enemies are more focused on who Louis really is and how he acts, so they will see the real Louis, not the Louis through rose colored glasses.
"Few people are wise enough to prefer useful criticism over treacherous flattery"
Again, if Louis were to love praise as much as was to be believed, he would never want criticism over flattery. He was not wise enough to want to be criticized; he was too caught up in all the praise he received. It would not have gone over well at all.