The Bourgeois Gentleman (Le Bourgeois gentilhomme) is one of Moliere’s best known comedic ballets. It centers around the foolish notions of Monsieur Jourdain, a tradesman who has done well for himself and acquired a large fortune. He aspires to become a proper gentleman and move within the higher circles of society. He has therefore hired various teachers to train him in dancing, music, fencing, and philosophy. They secretly ridicule M. Jourdain but decide to cheat him out of everything they can. M. Jourdain is flattered when the rakish count, Dorante, pretends to be his friend, never realizing that the count is merely after his money so that he can woo the wealthy Marchioness, Doriméne. M. Jourdain is so preoccupied by his desire to be a part of the upper class, he rejects Cléonte as a suitor for his daughter, Lucile, as he is too middle-class. However, the tables are turned when M. Jourdain is fooled by an elaborate plot in which Cléonte disguises himself as Turkish royalty and asks for Lucile’s hand. Monsieur Jourdain is simple enough to be deceived and Lucile happily marries the disguised Cléonte.
The Bourgeois Gentleman guide sections