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The tension of illusion and reality present a tremendous problem for the characters in Moliere’s Misanthrope. Another tension, to a lesser extent, is that of love and principle. Throughout the play the characters are saying or thinking one thing, but saying or doing the complete opposite. The conflict of these tensions is what makes this play a comedy and in some ways a tragic comedy. The main character, Alceste, goes from beginning to end …

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…the part of charity/ To shake my soul with doubts of her sincerity” (99). Arsinoe says that she has proof that Celimene is deceitful, and Alceste still has trouble believing her. Alceste’s concept of what is reality and what is and illusion is clouded by his love of Celimene. In Act Four, Scene One, Philinte is informing Eliante about the verbal exchange between Oronte and Alceste concerning the sonnet that Oronte had written for Celimene.