The Miser By Moliere: Act-by-Act Detailed Summary

I learned how a father has the ability to ruin his children's lives in this play. Welcome or welcome back dear readers, this classic that is written by Moliere is a true comedy. If you want to read The Miser by Moliere's detailed, act-by-act summary and to learn its main idea, point of view, or if you just want to read a good book/play recommendation or a book/play review, let's move on to the article.

The Miser By Moliere: Act-by-Act Detailed Summary

Characters of The Miser

First, let's get to know The Miser characters of this play, then move on to The Miser summary.

Harpagon: Cleante and Elise's father, the protagonist of the play

Cleante: Harpagon's son, Mariane's sweetheart

Elise: Harpagon's daughter, Valere's sweetheart

Valere: Anselme's son, Elise's sweetheart

Mariane: Cleante's sweetheart, the one Harpagon wants to marry

Anselme: Father of Valere and Mariane

Frosine: The scheming woman (the reason things get messy, but she's the one who solves it in the end)

Master Simon: The broker

Master Jacques: Harpagon's cook and coachman

La Fleche: Cleante's servant

Dame Claude: Harpagon's maid

Brindavoin: Harpagon's servant

La Merluche: Harpagon's servant

Commissioner and Deputy

Detailed Summary

Now that we know the characters, we can move on to the subject of the play. Almost the entire play takes place in the house of the old, rich but stingy Harpagon. I want to summarize the play for you act by act.

Act 1

Act 1 begins with Valere and Elise's secret conversations. Elise tells Valere about her fear about the future of their relationship because of her father, and Valere says that if he can find his family, her fear will not matter anymore. In Scene 2, Cleante talks to his sister Elise about the girl he loves. A girl named Mariane. He tells that her family doesn't have much money, but she is very beautiful and has a heart of gold. Cleante wanted to help her family, but it was of course impossible to ask his stingy father for money.

In the 3rd Scene, the protagonist Harpagon comes. He argues that his servant, La Fleche, stole his money and they fight. In the end, La Fleche gets fired. Then, Harpagon gathers around his children and asks Cleante if he knows a girl named Mariane. Cleante thinks that his father has a plan to marry Mariane to himself and gets very excited, but of course, it is not the case. Harpagon wants to marry Mariane. Harpagon adds that he will give Elise to Anselme, an old, rich man.

Act 2

In Act 2, Cleante plans to borrow money from a loan shark, Master Simon. But the moneylender's strange conditions make Cleante get angry. The interesting thing is that the broker with whom Cleante made a deal, was also in agreement with Harpagon. He was actually the one that was going to lend the money, but when they saw each other, Harpagon got angry that Cleante was in dept. In Scene 5, we learn that Frosine is the matchmaker for Harpagon, of course, her main goal is to get money from Harpagon. Frosine praises Harpagon a lot throughout the scene, but of course, Harpagon doesn't give her a penny in the end.

Act 3

In Act 3, Harpagon makes the servants clean the house, as guests will arrive soon. He plans to send Elise to the fair with Mariane. Meanwhile, Valere continues to lull so that Harpagon gives him his daughter. In Act 5, Mariane comes to Harpagon's house with Frosine, but of course, she doesn't want to marry the old and miser Harpagon.
Later, Harpagon introduces Cleante to Mariane, but of course, they actually know each other, but they have to pretend they don't. 

Act 4

In Act 4, in a corner, Frosine, Mariane, Cleante and Elise make a plan to end Harpagon's plans.Mariane's mother is determined to give Mariane to Harpagon, so Frosine tells Mariane that they must persuade her mother to marry her to Cleante instead. However, it is more difficult to convince Harpagon than to convince Mariane's mother. The cunning Harpagon realizes that Cleante likes Mariane and deceives him and takes the word out of his mouth. Cleante gets angry and says he will not give up on Mariane.

The Miser By Moliere: Act-by-Act Detailed Summary

Then, Harpagon starts chasing Cleante. Finally, he disowns him and withdraws his share of the inheritance. Meanwhile, La Fleche confronts Cleante and says that he has found Harpagon's treasure, and they escape together. Harpagon starts running around shouting "Thief!" and goes to the Lieutenant.

Act 5

In Act 5, when he was talking to Master Jacques later, Master Jacques tells him that Valere stole the money. Harpagon goes and wants his treasure back from Valere, but Valere thinks he's referring to Elise and the scene turns out to be so funny. In the end, Harpagon thinks Valere stole both his box and his daughter.

Finally, Anselmewhom Harpagon plans to marry his daughter to, enters the scene. Valere finally begins to tell his own story, actually saying that his father was a noble named Don Thomaz d'Alburcy. Anselme accuses him of lying because he says that Don Thomaz d'Alburcy died in a shipwreck with his wife and his children sixteen years ago.

Valere adds that he was rescued from that accident by a Spanish ship. On top of that, Mariane realizes that Valere is her brother and Anselme realizes that he has found his children. Anselme also survived that accident, but he thought that his family was dead. Then,  Cleante blackmails Harpagon and asks him to let her marry Mariane in exchange for giving him his money back. Hearing this, Anselme says that he will pay for it, and finally, Harpagon lets everyone marry whoever they want and goes to count his "precious" money.

Written in a patriarchal society, this work still maintains its validity with its universal theme. We come across such stingy, selfish people every day. Moliere certainly wrote the characters in his work very realistically.

What do you think about the Miser? Was this summary helpful to you? Is there anything you want to add? You can write your comments below.

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  1. pretty nice,you write really good summary of this book.

    1. Thank you :) Stay tuned for more literary content like this