Montfleury

Definition

Theater

  • (Zacharie Jacob; c. 1600 - 67) French actor, whoperformed in tragedies at the Hôtel de Bourgogne fromthe late 1630s onwards. Montfleury, who was frequently ridiculed forhis extreme corpulence and his declamatory style of acting, is nowmainly remembered for his feud with Molière in the1660s. When the playwright married a much younger woman Montfleuryaccused Molière, before the king, of marrying his own illegitimatedaughter by a former lover. The king showed his faith in Molière'sinnocence by acting as godfather to the couple's first child. Molièrehimself struck back by writing L'Impromptu de Versailles(1663), which cruelly parodies Montfleury and his company.

    Montfleury was also unpopular with Cyrano de Bergerac, who,according to legend, once interrupted the actor in mid performanceand ordered him off the stage for his abominable overacting. The incidentappears in Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac. Montfleury collapsedand died during a performance of Racine's Andromaque, afterapparently bursting a blood vessel during a particularly emotionallycharged scene.

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