1st Edition

Women in Molière’s Comedies How Little Do You Know a Woman’s Heart!

By Diana Koloini Copyright 2025
    188 Pages
    by Routledge

    The book offers a new approach to the work of the great classical author. Molière’s is obviously a patriarchal world in which women are most often treated as objects of patriarchal autocracy, which expects their submission. Yet in a number of his plays, women display ample resourcefulness in countering the patriarchal rule, often managing to outwit it. To explore this topic, the book scrutinizes Moliere’s most important comedies, The School for Wives, Tartuffe, The Misanthrope, and Don Juan, all of which feature complex female characters who play important roles. They show that Molière acknowledged a fully valid space for women and recognized their right to their own lives. As a prelude, the book analyzes two comedies from the margins of Molière’s oeuvre, The Ridiculous Précieuses and The Learned Ladies, which provoked controversy and indignant feminist criticism, since they appear to deride the emancipatory efforts of the time.

    1. Where are women in Molière’s comedies?
    2. Can Molière be accused of misogyny?: Comedies about women
    3. Agnès: the dramaturgy of liberation
    4. Women facing Tartuffe
    5. Célimène, an Independent Woman
    6. Women and Don Juan








    Diana Koloini is a dramaturge and theater scholar based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, with a thirty-year career in theater, most of it in the Slovene National Theatre Drama Ljubljana.

    Diana Koloini’s Women in Molière’s Comedies is a groundbreaking study, which will soon become a landmark not only in Molière Studies but also in feminist readings of the image and role of women in (French and European) classical theater. It should become a “must-read” in every curriculum in the humanities.
    Professor Patrice Pavis, University of Paris; Honorary Fellow, University of London.

    Koloini's Women in Molière’s Comedies does not fall into the trap of trying to make a plea for or against Molière's feminism. Instead, it focuses masterfully on the often overlooked complexity and diversity of his female characters. This makes it not so much a book about Molière, but de facto a book about women – through the spyglass of Molière's comedies.
    Alenka Zupančič, The European Graduate School