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The Imaginary Invalid Summary (Moliere) - Summary of Molière's play "the Imaginary Invalid"

Updated on August 17, 2013

The Imaginary Invalid

First Act

Argan and Béline have two children together. Angélique and Louison, but it has to be said that Béline is only the step-mother – the original mother died a long time ago. They also have servant called Toinette.

Angélique is in deep love with Cléante. She has a conversation with Toinette about her love towards Cléante. Toinette thinks that Cléante would be the ideal guy for her and that they will be very happy if they marry. On the other hand, there is another guy, who also has fallen in love with Angélique. His name is Thomas Diafours. He is the son of Monsieur Diafours, who is an old friend of Argan. Argan knows that he has a lot of money and that his son is studying medicine.

Argan has arranged a marriage for Angélique and Thomas diafours and Toinette thinks that Angélique is very sad, because of her father’s decision. Argan thinks that he is extremely ill and when he has a doctor in the family, he doesn’t have to pay the high bills of the other doctors. Argan also thinks that he might even die soon and that’s why his second with Béline goes to see a notary.

Second Act

The Diafours have arrived at Argan’s home. They present themselves to Angélique. It becomes quite obvious that Thomas Diafours is a newbie and shows off, but in fact, there is nothing to show off and he should rather be ashamed of himself than playing the big deal. Cléante has dressed up like Angélique’s singing teacher. He tells them a story of a shepherd and a shepherdress. This little story mirrors the situation of the two lovers. They sing an opera together and it becomes obvious to the reader, because he knows the relations between the two individuals better than the people in the play, that Angélique and Cléante are telling their love to the other, indirectly.

Thomas observes Argan’s pulse in order to demonstrate his non-existing mastery in medicine. He says the exact opposite thing than Argan’s usual doctor, Monsieur Purgon, has said which doesn’t make sense at all. He and his father try to justify their observation with stupid arguments. They also use Latin and Greek words in order to sound smarter.

There’s a scene with Louison, who is the younger daughter. Argan questions her and Louison also plays dead.

Argan’s brother, Béralde, also arrives. He tells Argan that he has a match for Angélique. Also, Béralde is a lawyer and he isn’t impressed by Argan’s imagined pains and illnesses. Together with Toinette, he wants to cure Argans hypochondria.

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Third Act

The first two scenes are quite easy to read and there isn’t much to think about or to interpret. The third scene becomes a bit harder, because it is a lot deeper than the two previous scenes.

Béralde and Argan talk about medicine. Béralde says in the end that medicine is non-sense and a waste of time. Monsieur Purgon arrives at Argan’s and he tells him that he doesn’t want to be his doctor anymore, because he has heard by mistake that Argan thinks medicine is a stupid thing and pure waste of time.

There’s a funny scene with Toinette, who dresses up like a doctor. She says to Argan that she is 90 years old (in fact, she’s only like 26 years old). Argan wonders how it was possible to stay so young. Toinette says that her visual appearance is a proof of her mastery. She tells him that she’s very interested in serious and extraordinary illnesses and she does a fake diagnosis.

Béralde proposes to Argan to play dead in order to figure out, who has which feelings for Argan. Béralde tells Argan’s second wife that he has passed away and that she has to come in a room and see him. She doesn’t even waste one single thought about the loss of a human life. She instantly starts talking about the money which she has to go and get now, where Argan has finally passed away. They do the same thing with Angélique. She, on the other hand, starts crying and lot and regrets his death. For them, they now know that Angélique has real feelings for her father.

They abandon this theatre and Argan tells everyone that he was testing them. Angélique is very happy that he is still alive and Béline is very embarrassed. Argan wants the divorce and Angélique is free to choose who she wants to marry, but it has to be a doctor or a becoming doctor. Of course, she still can’t choose Cléante has her fiancée. For this reason, Béralde tells Argan to become a doctor himself, so he can treat himself and doesn’t have to pay bills anymore and to trust someone who might be a failure in his field.

Stefan Zweig – Fear

Hermann Hesse – the Steppenwolf

Hermann Hesse – Siddharta

Hermann Hesse – Demian

Hermann Hesse – Narcissus and Goldmund

Hermann Hesse – Glass Bead Game

Jean-Paul Sartre – Huis Clos

Molière – The Imaginary Invalid

William Golding – Lord of the Flies

Bernand Shaw – Pygmalion

Vsevolod Garshin – A red flower

Viktor Pelevin – The life of insects

Tolstoy – The Death of Ivan Ilyich

More Summaries

Novalis – Heinrich von Ofterdingen

Goethe – Faust I

Goethe – Clavigo

Goethe – Iphigenie auf Tauris

Goethe – Egmont

Goethe – Stella

E.T.A Hoffmann – The Sandman

Joseph von Eichendorff – Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts

Joseph von Eichendorff – The Marble Statue

Joseph von Eichendorff – Schloss Dürande

Georg Büchner – Woyzeck

© 2013 Slaven Cvijetic

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