The Middle Class Gentleman

by Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (Moliere)

Previous Chapter


SCENE I (Madame Jourdaine, Monsieur Jourdain)

MADAME JOURDAIN: Ah, My God! Mercy! What is all of this? What a spectacle! Are you dressed for a masquerade, and is this a time to go masked? Speak then, what is this? Who has bundled you up like that?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: See the impertinent woman, to speak in this way to a Mamamouchi!


MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Yes, you must show me respect now, as I've just been made a Mamamouchi.

MADAME JOURDAIN: What are you trying to say with your Mamamouchi?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Mamamouchi, I tell you. I'm a Mamamouchi.

MADAME JOURDAIN: What animal is that?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Mamamouchi, that is to say, in our language, Paladin.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Baladin! Are you of an age to dance in ballets?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: What an ignorant woman! I said Paladin. It's a dignity which has just been bestowed upon me in a ceremony.

MADAME JOURDAIN: What ceremony then?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Mahometa-per-Jordina.

MADAME JOURDAIN: What does that mean?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Jordina, that is to say, Jourdain.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Very well, what of Jourdain?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Voler far un Paladina de Jordina.


MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Dar turbanta con galera.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Which is to say what?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Per deffender Palestina.

MADAME JOURDAIN: What are you trying to say?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Dara, dara, bastonnara.

MADAME JOURDAIN: What jargon is this?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Non tener honta, questa star l'ultima affronta.

MADAME JOURDAIN: What in the world is all that?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: (Dancing and singing). Hou la ba, Ba la chou, ba la ba, ba la da.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Alas! Oh Lord, my husband has gone mad.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: (Leaving) Peace, insolent woman! Show respect to the Monsieur Mamamouchi.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Has he lost his mind? I must hurry to stop him from going out. Ah! Ah! This is the last straw! I see nothing but shame on all sides.

(She leaves.)

SCENE II (Dorante, Dorimène)

DORANTE: Yes, Madame, you are going to see the most amusing thing imaginable. I don't believe it would be possible to find in all the world another man as crazy as that one is. And then too, Madame, we must try to help Cléonte's plan by supporting his masquerade. He's a very gallant man and deserves our help.

DORIMÈNE: I think highly of him and he deserves happiness.

DORANTE: Besides that, we have here, Madame, another ballet performance that we shouldn't miss, and I want to see if my idea will succeed.

DORIMÈNE: I saw magnificent preparations, and I can no longer permit this Dorante. Yes, I finally want to end your extravagances and to stop all these expenses that I see you go to for me, I have decided to marry you right away. This is the truth of it, that all these sorts of things end with marriage, as you know.

DORANTE: Ah! Madame, is it possible that you should have taken such a sweet decision in my favor?

DORIMÈNE: It is only to impede you from ruining yourself; without that, I see very well that before long you would not have a penny.

DORANTE: How obliged I am to you, Madame, for the care you have to conserve my money! It is entirely yours, as well as my heart, and you may use them in whatever fashion you please.

DORIMÈNE: I'll make use of them both. But here is your man: his costume is wonderful.

SCENE III (Monsieur Jourdain, Dorante, Dorimène)

DORANTE: Sir, we come to pay homage, Madame and I, to your new dignity, and to rejoice with you at the marriage between your daughter and the son of the Grand Turk.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: (After bowing in the Turkish way) Sir, I wish you the strength of serpents and the wisdom of lions.

DORIMÈNE: I was very glad, Sir, to be among the first to come to congratulate you upon rising to such a high degree of honor.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Madame, I wish your rosebush to flower all year long; I am infinitely obliged to you for taking part in the honors bestowed upon me; and I am very happy to see you returned here, so I can make very humble excuses for the ridiculous behavior of my wife.

DORIMÈNE: That's nothing. I excuse her jumping to conclusions: your heart must be precious to her, and it isn't strange that the possession of such a man as you should inspire some jealousy.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: The possession of my heart is a thing that has been entirely gained by you.

DORANTE: You see, Madame, that Monsieur Jourdain is not one of those men that good fortune blinds, and that he still knows, even in his glory, how to recognize his friends.

DORIMÈNE: It is the mark of a completely generous soul.

DORANTE: Where then is His Turkish Highness? We want, as your friends, to pay him our respects.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: There he comes, and I have sent for my daughter in order to give him her hand.

SCENE IV (Cléonte, Covielle, Monsieur Jourdain, etc.)

DORANTE: Sir, we come to bow to Your Highness as friends of the gentleman who is your father-in-law, and to assure you with respect of our very humble services.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Where's the interpreter to tell him who you are and to make him understand what you say? You will see that he will reply, and that he speaks Turkish marvelously. Hey there! Where the devil has he gone? (To Cléonte). Strouf, strif, strof, straf. The gentleman is a grande Segnore, grande Segnore, grande Segnore. And Madame is a Dama granda Dama, granda. Ahi! He, Monsieur, he French Mamamauchi, and Madame also French Mamamouchie. I can't say it more clearly. Good, here's the interpreter. Where are you going? We won't know how to say anything without you. Tell him, that Monsieur and Madame are persons of high rank, who have come to pay their respects to him, as my friends, and to assure him of their services. You'll see how he will reply.

COVIELLE: Alabala crociam acci boram alabamen.

CLÉONTE: Catalequi tubal ourin soter amalouchan.


COVIELLE: He says that the rain of prosperity should water the garden of your family in all seasons.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: I told you that he speaks Turkish!

DORANTE: That's wonderful.

SCENE V (Lucile, Monsieur Jourdain, Dorante, Dorimène, etc.)

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Come, my daughter; come here and give your hand to the gentleman who does you the honor of asking for you in marriage.

LUCILE: What! Father, look at you! Are you playing in a comedy?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: No, no, this is not a comedy, it's a very serious matter, and as full of honor for you as possible. There is the husband I give you.

LUCILE: To me, father?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Yes, to you. Come, put your hand in his, and give thanks to Heaven for your happiness.

LUCILE: I have absolutely no wish to marry.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: I wish it, I, who am your father.

LUCILLE: I'll do nothing of the sort.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Ah! What a nuisance! Come, I tell you. Give your hand.

LUCILE: No, my father, I told you, there is no power on earth that can make me take any husband other than Cléonte. And I will go to extreme measures rather than . . . (Recognizes Cléonte) It is true that you are my father; I owe you complete obedience; and it is for you to dispose of me according to your wishes.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Ah! I am delighted to see you return so promptly to your duty, and it pleases me to have an obedient daughter.

SCENE VI (Madame Jourdain, Monsieur Jourdain, Cléonte, etc.)

MADAME JOURDAIN: What now? What's this? They say that you want to give your daughter in marriage to a someone in a Carnival costume?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Will you be quiet, impertinent woman? You always throw your absurdities into everything, and there's no teaching you to be reasonable.

MADAME JOURDAIN: It's you that there is no way of making wise, and you go from folly to folly. What is your plan, and what do you want to do with this assemblage of people?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: I want to marry our daughter to the son of the Grand Turk.

MADAME JOURDAIN: To the son of the Grand Turk?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Yes. Greet him through the interpreter there.

MADAME JOURDAIN: I don't need an interpreter; and I'll tell him straight out myself, to his face, that there is no way he will have my daughter.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: I ask again, will you be quiet?

DORANTE: What! Madame Jourdain, do you oppose such good fortune as that? You refuse His Turkish Highness as your son-in-law?

MADAME JOURDAIN: My Goodness, Sir, mind your own business.

DORIMÈNE: It's a great glory, which is not to be rejected.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Madame, I beg you also not to concern yourself with what does not affect you.

DORANTE: It's the friendship we have for you that makes us involve ourselves in your interest.

MADAME JOURDAIN: I can get along quite well without your friendship.

DORANTE: Your daughter here agrees to the wishes of her father.

MADAME JOURDAIN: My daughter consents to marry a Turk?

DORANTE: Without doubt.

MADAME JOURDAIN: She can forget Cléonte?

DORANTE: What wouldn't one do to be a great lady?

MADAME JOURDAIN: I would strangle her with my own hands if she did something like that.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: That is just so much talk. I tell you, this marriage shall take place.

MADAME JOURDAIN: And I say there is no way that it will happen.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Oh, what a row!

LUCILE: Mother!

MADAME JOURDAIN: Go away, you are a hussy.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: What! You quarrel with her for obeying me?

MADAME JOURDAIN: Yes. She is mine as much as yours.


MADAME JOURDAIN: What do you want to tell me?


MADAME JOURDAIN: I want nothing to do with your word.

COVIELLE: (To Monsieur Jourdain) Sir, if she will hear a word in private, I promise you to make her consent to what you want.

MADAME JOURDAIN: I will never consent to It.

COVIELLE: Only listen to me.



MADAME JOURDAIN: No, I don't want to listen to him.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: He is going tell you . . .

MADAME JOURDAIN: I don't want him to tell me anything whatsoever.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: There is the great stubbornness of a woman! How can it hurt you to listen to him?

COVIELLE: Just listen to me; after that you can do as you please.


COVIELLE: (Aside to Madame Jourdain) For an hour, Madame, we've been signaling to you. Don't you see that all this is done only to accommodate ourselves to the fantasies of your husband, that we are fooling him under this disguise and that it is Cléonte himself who is the son of the Grand Turk?


COVIELLE: And I, Covielle, am the interpreter?

MADAME JOURDAIN: Ah! If this is the case then, I surrender.

COVIELLE: Don't let on.

MADAME JOURDAIN: Yes, it's done, I agree to the marriage.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Ah! Now everyone's reasonable. You didn't want to hear it. I knew he would explain to you what it means to be the son of the Grand Turk.

MADAME JOURDAIN: He explained it to me very well, and I am satisfied. Let us send for a notary.

DORANTE: This is very well said. And finally, Madame Jourdain, in order to relieve your mind completely, and that you may lose today all the jealousy that you may have conceived of your husband, we shall have the same notary marry us, Madame and me.

MADAME JOURDAIN: I agree to that also.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Is this to make her believe our story?

DORANTE: (Aside to Monsieur Jourdain) It is necessary to amuse her with this pretence.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Good, good! Someone go for the notary.

DORANTE: While we wait for him to come and while he draws up the contracts, let us see our ballet, and divert His Turkish Highness with it.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: That is very well advised. Come, let's take our places.


MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: I give her to the interpreter; and my wife to whoever wants her.

COVIELLE: Sir, I thank you. (Aside) If one can find a greater fool, I'll go to Rome to tell it.

(The comedy ends with a ballet.)


Previous Chapter      
© 2022