Character Analysis Philinte And Eliante


These two characters serve generally as foils to the main pair of "lovers," Alceste and Célimène. Philinte's role, more important than Eliante's, exists largely as a voice of reason, especially in scenes with Alceste. He is a good friend of Alceste's and can see both the folly and the reason behind the "misanthrope's" carryings-on. He is finally of the opinion, however, that to live in this world one must be able to put up with man's shortcomings — something Alceste refuses to do.

Eliante's most important contribution in the play is the commentary she makes on the process of man pursuing women, and indirectly on the relationship between Alceste and Célimène. She is of the opinion that honesty is desirable in all their dealings, but she also understands the weakness of man which makes such a condition impossible.

The union of Philinte and Eliante by the end of the play suggests if not the triumph, then at least the durability, of rational but not overly scrupulous people in society.