Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005


Astro-Rayological Interpretation & Charts
Images and Physiognomic Interpretation

to Volume 3 Table of Contents


Moliere—French Playwright

January 15, 1622 (possible date of baptism, {50TB}, Paris, France.) Time of birth is given as 2:00 AM, speculatively, by Marc Penfield in “2001”—The Penfield Collection. (Sun, with Scorpio as speculative Ascendant), Died, February 17, 1673.

Moliere demonstrated his third ray as an astute and humorously cynical social critic and, artistically, through the crafting of ingenious plots. The fourth ray is, of course, obvious through the many contrasts and surprises which fill his plays. His realism and thinly veiled pessimism correlate with his Sun Sign, Capricorn, and his “bite” with the speculative Ascendant, Scorpio.


A wise man is superior to any insults which can be put upon him, and the best reply to unseemly behavior is patience and moderation.

I live on good soup, not on fine words.

If everyone were clothed with integrity, if every heart were just, frank, kindly, the other virtues would be well-nigh useless.

If you suppress grief too much, it can well redouble.

It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do.

Of all the noises known to man, opera is the most expensive.

Oh, how fine it is to know a thing or two.

One should eat to live, not live to eat.

Some of the most famous books are the least worth reading. Their fame was due to their having done something that needed to be doing in their day. The work is done and the virtue of the book has expired.

That must be wonderful: I don't understand it at all.

There is no praise to bear the sort that you put in your pocket.

There's nothing like tobacco; it is the passion of all decent men-a man who lives without tobacco does not deserve to live.

We die only once, and for such a long time.

When someone blunders, we say that he makes a misstep. Is it then not clear that all the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill our history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill in dancing.


The son of a Parisian artisan, Poquelin lost his mother when still a child and entered the prestigious Jesuits' Collège de Clermont, to complete his studies. There are many stories about his time at the college: It is said that his father was very demanding of him, that he met the Prince of Conti, or that he was a pupil of the philosopher Pierre Gassendi, but none of these seem to have any foundation.
It is certain, however, that Poquelin was a close friend of the abbé La Mothe Le Vayer, son of François de La Mothe-Le-Vayer, in the years in which the abbé was editing his father's works, and it has been suggested that Poquelin may have been influenced by them. Among his first works was a translation (now lost) of De Rerum Natura by the Roman philosopher Lucretius.
When Poquelin reached the age of 18, his father passed on to him the title of Tapissier du Roi, and the associated office of valet de chambre, which brought him into frequent contact with the king. Poquelin is claimed to have graduated in law at Orléans in 1642, but some doubts remain as to this.
In June 1643, together with his lover Madeleine Béjart and a brother and sister of hers, he founded the theatre company or troupe of L'Illustre Théâtre, which became bankrupt in 1645. At this time he assumed the pseudonym of Molière, inspired by the name of a small village in Southern France. The failure of the company caused him to spend some weeks in prison for debt. He was freed by the help of his father, and he left with Madeleine for a tour of villages as a travelling comedian. This life lasted for 14 years, during which he initially played with the companies of Charles Dufresne, and subsequently created a company of his own. In the course of his travels he met the prince of Conti, the governor of Languedoc, who became his patron, and he named his company after him. But this friendship would end later, when Conti joined Molière's enemies in the Parti des Dévots.
In Lyons, Mme Duparc, famous as la Marquise, joined the company. La Marquise was courted, in vain, by Pierre Corneille and later became the lover of Jean Racine. Racine offered Molière his tragedy Théagène et Chariclée (one of the first works he wrote after he had left his theology studies), but Molière did not perform it, though he encouraged Racine to pursue his artistic career. It is said that soon after Molière became very angry with Racine when he was told that he had secretly presented his tragedy to the company of Hôtel de Bourgogne too.
Molière reached Paris in 1658 and played at the Louvre (then for rent as a theatre) in Corneille's tragedy Nicomède and the farce Le docteur amoureux (Doctor in Love), with some success. He was awarded the title of Troupe de Monsieur (the Monsieur was the king's brother) and with the help of Monsieur, his company joined a locally famous Italian company that played Commedia dell'arte. He became firmly established at their theatre Petit-Bourbon, where on November 18, 1659 he gave the premier of Les Précieuses ridicules (The Affected Young Ladies), one of his masterpieces.

Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin) was born in Paris on January 15, 1622. His father was one of eight valets de chambre tapissiers who tended the king's furniture and upholstery, so the young Poquelin received every advantage a boy could wish for. He was educated at the finest schools (the College de Clermont in Paris.) He had access to the king's court. But even as a child, Molière found it infinitely more pleasant to poke fun at the aristocracy than to associate with them. As a young boy, he learned that he could cause quite a stir by mimicking his mother's priest. His mother, a deeply religious woman, might have broken the young satirist of this habit had she not died before he was yet twelve-years-old. His father soon remarried, but in less than three years, this wife also passed away. At the age of fifteen, Jean-Baptiste was left alone with his father and was most likely apprenticed to his trade.
The boy never showed much of an interest for the business of upholstering. Fortunately, his father's shop was located near two important theatrical sites: the Pont-Neuf and the Hôtel de Bourgogne. At the Pont-Neuf, comedians performed plays and farces in the street in order to sell patent medicines to the crowds. Although not traditional theatre in the strictest sense, the antics of these comic medicine-men brought a smile to Jean-Baptiste's face on many an afternoon. At the Hôtel de Bourgogne--which the boy attended with his grandfather--the King's Players performed more traditional romantic tragedies and broad farces. Apparently, these two theatrical venues had quite an impact on the young Poquelin, for in 1643, at the age of twenty-one, he decided to dedicate his life to the theatre.
Jean-Baptiste had fallen in love with a beautiful red-headed actress named Madeleine Béjart. Along with Madeleine, her brother Joseph and sister Genevieve, and about a dozen other young well-to-do hopefuls, Jean-Baptiste founded a dramatic troupe called The Illustrious Theater. It was about this time that he changed his name to Molière, probably to spare his father the embarrassment of having an actor in the family.
Molière and his companions made their dramatic debut in a converted tennis court. Although the company was brimming with enthusiasm, none of them had much experience and when they began to charge admission, the results proved disastrous. Over the course of the next two years, the little company appeared in three different theatres in various parts of Paris, and each time, they failed miserably. Several of the original members dropped out of the company during this period. Finally, the seven remaining actors decided to forget Paris and go on a tour of the provinces. For the next twelve years, they would travel from town to town, performing and honing their craft.
It was during this period that Molière began to write plays for the company. His first important piece, L'Étourdi or The Blunderer, followed the escapades of Mascarille, a shrewd servant who sets about furthering his master's love affair with a young woman only to have his plans thwarted when the blundering lover inadvertantly interferes. The five-act piece proved quite successful, and a number of other works followed. By the spring of 1658, Molière and his much-improved company decided to try their luck once more in Paris. When they learned that the King's brother, the Duke of Anjou, was said to be interested in supporting a dramatic company which would bear his name, they immediately set about gaining an introduction to the Court.
On the evening of October 24, 1658, Molière and his troupe performed for the first time before Louis XIV and his courtiers in the Guard Room of the old Louvre Palace. They made a crucial mistake, however, by performing a tragedy (Cornielle's second-rate Nicoméde) instead of one of their popular farces. The Court was not impressed. Fortunately Molière, realizing their blunder, approached the King at the conclusion of the tragedy and asked permission to perform one of his own plays, The Love-Sick Doctor. The King granted his request, and the play was such a success that the little company--which would thereafter be known as the Troupe de Monsieur--was granted use of the Hôtel du Petit Bourbon, one of the three most important theaters in Paris.
The first of Molière's plays to be presented at the Petit Bourbon was Les Précieuses Ridicules or The Pretentious Ladies which satirized Madame de Rambouillet, a member of the King's court who had set herself up as the final judge of taste and culture in Paris. The play proved so successful that Molière doubled the price of admission and was invited to give a special performance for the King. The King was delighted and rewarded the playwright with a large gift of cash, but Molière had made powerful enemies of some of the King's followers. Madame de Rambouillet and her coterie managed to have performances of the play suspended for fourteen days and, in an attempt to drive Molière from the city, eventually managed to have the Petit Bourbon closed down completely. But the King immediately granted Molière use of the Théâtre du Palais Royal where he would continue to perform for the rest of his life.
Over the course of the next thirteen years, Molière worked feverishly to make his company the most respected dramatic troupe in Paris. (Eventually, they were awarded the coveted title "Troupe of the King.") He directed his own plays and often played the leading role himself.
On February 17, 1673, Molière suffered a hemorrhage while playing the role of the hypochondriac Argan in The Imaginary Invalid. He had insisted on going through with the performance in spite of the advice of his wife and friends saying, "There are fifty poor workers who have only their daily wage to live on. What will become of them if the performance does not take place?" He passed away later that night at his home on the Rue Richelieu. The local priests refused to take his confession, for actors had no social standing and had been excommunicated by the church. Nor would they permit him to be buried in holy ground. Four days later, the King interceded and Molière was finally buried in the Cemetery Saint Joseph under the cover of darkness.
Molière left behind a body of work which not only changed the face of French classical comedy, but has gone on to influence the work of other dramatists the world over. The greatest of his plays include The School for Husbands (1661), The School for Wives (1662), The Misanthrope (1666), The Doctor in Spite of Himself (1666), Tartuffe (1664,1667,1669), The Miser (1668), and The Imaginary Invalid (1673).

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, later to adopt the stage name Molière, was born into a comfortable, respected bourgeois family of Paris in 1622. Despite the best efforts of his family, he was immutably destined, it seems, for the theatre. He completing a law degree and was entitled to inherit his father's lucrative position as official upholsterer to the King but he never pursued either profession. Instead, having stumbled into a friendship with the Béjart family, a theatre dynasty of the day - and being very taken with a daughter of the family, Madeleine, he set his eyes on the stage.

At 21 he co-founded, along with the Béjarts and other actors, the Illustre Théâtre, a Paris-based troupe that went bankrupt in short order - due largely to an energetic anti-theatre lobby within the Church. The situation landed the young actor/producer in debtor's prison. When Jean-Baptiste's father consented to liquidate the debt, Molière and the Béjarts left Paris for the provinces. There they toured for some 13 years, enjoying consistent moderate success and garnering the patronage - essential, given the ecclesiastic climate - of a number of important noblemen. During this period Molière acted in a varied, extensive repertory, established himself as the leader of the company, and began writing plays.

Resolving to give the capital another try, the troupe returned to Paris in 1658, where Molière obtained the patronage of Monsieur, Louis XIV's brother. Granted a chance to play before the King himself, the company presented Corneille's tragedy Nicomède, which flew, apparently, on wings of lead. Le Docteur amoureux - a farce followed it on the bill, perhaps in desperation. This Molière original so delighted the King that he granted Molière's group use of the Petit Bourbon theatre where a number of his original comedies were greeted with accolades. Louis also commissioned Molière to write and stage many comédies-ballets - royal entertainments intermingling dialogue, song and dance, performed in palace settings, often featuring members of the court.

His 1663 School for Wives inaugurated Molière's final period, a decade that earned him both enormous acclaim and a venomous squall that would never entirely abate. Shrill accusations of indecency flew in the wake of Wives. His next major work, Tartuffe caused an even greater furor. The Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement, a group of clerics self-appointed to root out heresy and blasphemy, were especially ill-disposed towards Molière, and militated for the suppression of Tartuffe before it was ever performed, believing it to ridicule not hypocritical piousness but true devotion. One Parisian Priest, Pierre Roulé, even called publicly for Molière to be burned at the stake. Church orders went out not only banning performance of Tartuffe, but threatening excommunication to anyone reading or listening to the play. On another front, the envy of competing stage artists sparked satiric attacks that, if not life-threatening, were savagely ugly. Having married Madeleine Béjart's younger sister Armande, Molière was subjected to public claims that he'd married not the sister but the daughter of the woman everyone believed to have been his lover, as well as salacious representations of Madeleine herself. In a height of indignity, the accusation that Molière's wife Armande was in fact his own child was promulgated in a satiric play mounted by a rival troupe.

Molière, nonetheless, continued his prolific output -directing and performing his and other playwrights' works and creating commissioned palace entertainments. Indeed this period of controversy and venom coincides with the creation of what are now seen as his most important works, The School for Wives and Tartuffe, as well as The Misanthrope, Dom Juan, The Miser, The Learned Ladies and his final opus The Hypochondriac. A man of theatre to the end, Molière insisted on performing in that last piece, despite an advanced pulmonary condition. He began coughing blood during the fourth performance, but finished the show, and died mere hours later. Though he was originally denied burial on Church property, because of his status as an actor who had never renounced the profession, his long-time patron and defender Louis, by we know not what machinations, was able to have his remains transferred to holy ground.


to all Astrological Interpretations by Michael D. Robbins
to other commentary and projects by Michael D. Robbins
to the University of the Seven Rays

to home