L'Avare (The Miser) was acted for the first time on September 9, 1668. Molière has borrowed from Plautus, and has imitated several others, but he far surpasses them in the treatment of his subject. The picture of the miser, a rich moneylender named Harpagon, in whom love of money takes the place of all natural affections, who not only withdraws from family intercourse, but considers his children as natural enemies, is finely drawn, and renders Moliere's play altogether more dramatic and moral than those of his predecessors.
Although the 17th-century French upper classes objected to the play's message, it is less savage and somewhat less realistic than Molière's earlier play, Tartuffe, which attracted a storm of criticism on its first performance.
Molière acted the part of Harpagon.