During the 18th century productions in the theater were going through a distinct change from neoclassic to a style of theater that focused on the observations of one’s own mental and emotional journey and no other playwright during this time period is a better example of leading the way in this transition than Pierre Marivaux. Two plays that werewritten by Marivaux will be analyzed in the following essay in order to better comprehend the distinct style of this playwright and why these plays are unique to the 18th century. The two plays are Arlequin poli par l'amour (1720; Harlequin, refined by love) and Le leu de l'amour et du hasard (1730; The Game of Love and Chance). Marivaux was a pioneer during his lifetime as and these two plays wereinstrumental in defining him as a master of French comedy. His plays focused on the withholding and discovery of love with subtle remarks and social status entangled with physiological revelations made by the characters at the end of the production.
Although the works of Pierre Marivaux are famous now he did not find a great deal of fame during his lifetime, thus it is not surprising that littleis known about his life because all that really remains to represent his life are his plays and two unfinished novels. What is known is that he was born in Paris in 1688, however he spent his childhood in the provinces and did not return to the city until 1710 where he went to law school which involved him in scholarly circles that would end up defining his playwright career. His private life iseven more ambiguous, it is known that he married in 1717 and had a daughter and shortly after his wife died in 1723, Marivaux never remarried and he lived until February 12, 1763, he was seventy-five years old (1). Although it would be nice to know more about the life of Pierre Marivaux it is unrealistic to expect there to be much information on an infamous playwright who unknowingly had a dramaticimpact on the very definition of the style of theater in the 18th century. What are still in existence today are the dramatic works written by this playwright, which should be examined because they are all that remains to represent the life of Pierre Marivaux.
The plot of Arlequin poli par l'amour is that the fairy brings Arlequin to an island because she loves him, however the fairy isengaged to Merlin who is a powerful wizard. To make matters worse Arlequin is asleep in the beginning of the play, which gives Trivelin who is the fairy’s servant time to try to convince the fairy that loving Arlequin would be detrimental. Arlequin wakes up and the fairy tries to seduce him, but all Arlequin is interested in is food and a beautiful ring that the fairy wears. Arlequin ends up meetingSilvia and they both fall in love at first sight. When the fairy finds out about Arlequin’s love for another woman she is obviously distraught about this new development and she forces Silvia to tell Arlequin that she is engaged to a Shepard. Trivelin is instrumental in carrying out the fairy’s orders and because Silvia is forced to lie to Arlequin he wants to die. Fortunately Trivelin decides tohelp the young lovers and he reveals the fairy’s ill intentions and the trio formulates a plot to beat the fairy. Arlequin decides to pretend to love the fairy and when he is close enough to her he will steal her wand. The plan works and the fairy loss everything while Arlequin and Silvia live happily ever after.
The plot of Le leu de l'amour et du hasard is that Silvia is a rich aristocraticwoman who is engaged to an aristocratic man named Dorante who she has never met. She is unsure and frightened to marry a man that she knows nothing about and so she decides to switch places with her servant Lisette. So that she can observe Dorante and see if she truly wants to marry him. Her father, Monsieur Orgon is aware of Silvia’s plan, but they are also aware from a letter that he has received...