Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Modern Foreign Languages

Major Professor

Sal DiMaria


This dissertation deals with the themes of death and recognition in three of Moliere's works: the comedy (or tragi-comedy) Dom Juan and two comedies-ballets, George Dandin and Le Malade imaginaire. In addition to the theme of death, it examines the comic elements and conventions of these plays, particularly those elements that could be seen as more tragic than comic. The discussion of Dom Juan goes beyond the usual treatments of hypocrisy and mauvaise foi to focus on the literal death represented in the comedy and how it connects with the characters need for recognition. In the two comedies-ballets, it looks at the role of the ballet interludes and how their inclusion or omission alters the possible interpretations of death. In the case of George Dandin, we will see that there is quite a significant difference when these interludes are omitted. To George Dandin and Le Malade imaginaire, is added a discussion of the genre of the comedie-ballet and its role in the development of French theatre and French baroque opera.

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