Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Jesse Njus

Second Advisor

Dr. Keith B. Kirk

Third Advisor

Dr. Aaron Anderson


The 17th Century marked the beginning of women professionally joining the acting profession and as such brought about change in the career opportunities for women. Madeleine Béjart was one of these actresses who is notorious for her liaison and working relationship with famed playwright, Molière. Through this personal relationship her role in history was relegated to that of mistress and the scandal concerning Molière’s wife Armande who is speculated to either be Madeleine's daughter or sister. By using historical and biographical information on Madeleine along with two works of Molière in which she originated roles, I will explore the intricacies of being an actress on the French stage in a time where patriarchal structures made it difficult for the advancement of women and redefining Madeleine’s place within history offering a chance for her to not be defined solely by scandal or her relationship with Molière.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

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VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission