The Liar

  • Do you imagine that it would improve


The Liar

See more monologues from Pierre Corneille


Age Range
Act One
Time & Place
The streets of Paris, 17th century
Time Period
Show Type

Monologue Context

Dorante is a young law student who has just arrived in Paris, intent upon going to

Monologue Text

  • Do you imagine that it would improve
  • My chances if I said to her: “Madame.
  • My fate is in your hands -- what’s more, I am
  • A qualified lawyer -- if you need advice
  • It’s yours for free. I’ve mastered all the nice
  • Distinctions between Digests Old and New,
  • And quite a lot of jurisprudence too.
  • My legal prowess is at your disposal.”
  • Of course, she’d be enthralled by that proposal!
  • These proud, disdainful beauties secretly
  • Long for a lover with a law degree!
  • Some learned languishing, that’s what they want:
  • The Prince of Precedents -- what a gallant!
  • Don’t make me laugh, Cliton -- a martial manner
  • Is what’s required: just slip in, when you can, a
  • Grimace or two, a daring oath, a lie,
  • A little jargon, the odd victory,
  • A fortress with a funny-sounding name --
  • To fascinate and thrill should be your aim.
  • Watchtowers and trenches, battle plans, designs,
  • Earthworks and counterscarps, angles, and lines --
  • Mix it all up and throw it in the pot,
  • And though she might be baffled, like as not
  • She’ll think you’re a resourceful sort of chap,
  • And count your love a feather in her cap.

Corneille, Pierre. Two Plays: The Liar, The Illusion. trans. Ranjit Bolt. Absolute Classics, Bath, England. 1989. p. 20.