Don Juan (or should I say ‘Done’ Juan?)

When I say done, I mean finished. Out. No more. For at the end of Moliere’s play, Don Juan, Juan himself is done for, and all for his own self-absorbed frivolities. An extreme womanizer, Don Juan took pleasure in the conquest of a woman, the breaking down of her strongest defenses until she, succumbed to his guile and charms, agreed to marry him. Once married Don Juan quickly grew bored, leaving the dear dame and riding off to woo and steal away yet another fair lass. Thankfully, Donna Elvire (his latest wife) wises up to his lusty antics, learning of his life as the cheating floozy of a man.

On an entirely different side of the story we have Sganarelle, Don Juan’s assistant. Sganarelle fusses and frets over the impiety of Don Juan’s activities. Sganarelle, though in fear of Don Juan’s wrath, gives a light lecture on heaven and the ultimate penalties that Don Juan will eventually have to face for his actions. However, in a strange turn much later on, Sganarelle, upon hearing of Don Juan’s death, cries for only his own situation (and not the loss of his companion’s soul). He cares only for his wages! Therefore, we see that Sganarelle, while hiding under a veil of piety and religious values, was in actuality only concerned with his salary and his own self.

Moliere’s Don Juan brings to discussion many themes and ideas. Infidelity, divorce/remarriage, religion, wealth, honor, and many other concepts are addressed. I enjoyed reading through Don Juan and appreciated its balance of reality and wit. It was almost a shame that people had to die, but the story taught lessons about morality and religion (one could call themselves religious and still be immoral). The play also highlights for us the absurdity of Don Juan’s sort of flighty self-absorbed attitude towards love. He totally disregarded the feelings of others and ultimately paid for it with his life.

-Cali Paetow