Sir, it is not because I am his father,...

The Imaginary Invalid

Mr. Diafoirus

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Sir, it is not because I am his father, but I can boast that I have reason to be satisfied with him, and that all those who see him speak of him as a youth without guile. He has not a very lively imagination, nor that sparkling wit which is found in some others; but it is this which has always made me auger well of his judgement, a quality required for the exercise of our art. As a child he never was what is called sharp or lively. He was always gentle, peaceful, taciturn, never saying a word, and never playing at any of those little pastimes that we call children’s games. It was found most difficult to teach him to read, and he was nine years old before he knew his letters. A good omen, I used to say to myself; trees slow of growth beat the best fruit. We engrave on marble with much more difficulty than on sand, but the result is more lasting; and that dullness of apprehension, that heaviness of imagination, is a mark of a sound judgement in the future. When I sent him to college, he found it hard work, but he stuck to his duty, and bore up with obstinacy against all difficulties. In short, by dint of continual hammering, he at last succeeded gloriously in obtaining his degree; and I can say, without vanity, that from that time till now there has been no candidate who has made more noise than he in all disputations of our school. There he has rendered himself formidable, and no debate passes but he goes and argues loudly and to the last extreme on the opposite side. He is firm in dispute, strong as a Turk in his principles, never changes his opinion, and pursues an argument to the last recesses of logic. But, above all things, what pleases me in him, and what I am glad to see him follow my example in, is that he is blindly attached to the opinions of the ancients, and that he would never understand nor listen to the reasons and the experiences of the pretended discoveries of our century concerning the circulation of the blood and other opinions of the same stamp.

Molière, The Imaginary Invalid, Project Gutenberg, 2012, pp. 60-61.

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