Moliere’s play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme is a satire

Moliere’s play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme is a satire

Moliere’s play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme is a satire

Required Textbook:
Fiero, Gloria. The Humanistic Tradition, Volume II (The Early Modern World
to the Present). 6th ed. 2010. ISBN: 9780077346232.

CHAPTER 21: Absolute Power and the Aristocratic Style
1. Moliere’s play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme is a satire. It pokes fun at the weaknesses and foibles of the aristocracy and of the middle class social climbers such as Mr. Jourdain who want to become aristocrats. Your textbook author points out, however, that the presentation of human nature in this, as in all of Moliere’s plays, is “universal and timeless” (75), which means that you could set this play in the 21st century and still find the same types of characters in the same situations behaving in similar ways. To consider the truth of this statement, I’d like you to choose one of the scenes (or pairs of scenes) listed below and discuss what you think Moliere is satirizing in that scene (what behavior or character type) and whether it is still relevant today. Give current examples.
Scenes to choose from:
• Act I, Scene I: Artists discussing their patron
• Act II, Scenes III and IV: A discussion of which profession is most important
• Scene VI: Mr. Jourdain as aspiring intellectual
• Scenes VII and VIII: Mr. Jourdain as fashion victim
2. If you could take a time machine back as a visitor to one of the countries or empires described in Chapter 21 during their days of absolute rule, which one would you choose? Why? What would you want to see and learn on your visit? (Give me a complete paragraph on this one and provide sufficient details to show you read the chapter.)
CHAPTER 22: The Baroque in the Protestant North
3. Choose ONE of the following two questions based on the works of John Donne.
CHOICE ONE: Reading 22.2: There are three strong metaphors that Donne uses in Meditation 17. (A metaphor gives us a new slant on something by likening it to something totally different.)
These metaphors are: 1) mankind = a book; 2) mankind = NOT an island; 3) tolling bell = death.
Paraphrase (put in your own words) the ideas that are conveyed by the first two metaphors about mankind. Then, for the third one, discuss what Donne means by the line “never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
CHOICE TWO: Reading 22.3: Summarize the arguments Donne is using to say that Death is not really as “mighty and dreadful” as we think it is.

4. The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah: Listen and enjoy. Then, write 3 descriptive adjectives for this piece of music: how it sounds to you, or how it makes you feel. (If you are not able to hear this file, you need to get set up to make that possible, as we will be listening to music throughout the semester.)
Chapter 23: The Scientific Revolution and the New Learning
5. Johann Sebastian Bach is believed by many to be the greatest composer who ever lived. He is presented in both Chapters 22 and 23, but I chose to use his instrumental music that is discussed in Chapter 23. Please listen to Bach’s Art of the Fugue. Again, come up with 3 descriptive adjectives for this piece of music.
6. Rembrandt, like Bach, spans the two Chapters. I’d like you to pick one of Rembrandt’s paintings or prints (found on pp. 97, 106, 107, 128 and 129), and spend some time just looking closely at what’s there. (On page 96, our textbook author has helped you by enlarging one part of the print seen in full on p. 107)
Then answer the following:
a) Describe 3-5 details in the painting that made an impression on you, and be very specific in describing them and why you found them interesting.
b) Why do you think Rembrandt is considered one of the great masters, based on your close observation?________________________________________
7. Reading 23.1: So relevant still today, in spite of the Latin title, is Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum. It tells us where all our prejudices and flawed thinking come from. I immediately wanted to rename his categories to bring them up to date:
Idols of the TRIBE: just plain human nature
Idols of the CAVE: my own personal hang-ups
Idols of the MARKETPLACE: advertising doubletalk, bureaucratic jargon, and campaign rhetoric
Idols of the THEATRE: false prophets
Reading 23.2: I also admired Bacon’s Of Studies(how could I not, as an English professor?).
To answer this question: Pick ONE of these two readings from Francis Bacon, choose a favorite sentence, quote it, then explain what it says to you and why you admire it.


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