Short summary - L'Illusion Comique - Pierre Corneille

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - L'Illusion Comique
Pierre Corneille

Act 1.


Old Pridamant, a city dweller from Rennes, has been searching in vain for ten years for his only beloved son, Klindor, whom he once drove away, and now repents. Dorant, a childhood friend of Klindor, leads the old man to the wizard Alcandra, who "works" in one grotto. Alcandra has not yet been explained, but he already knows everything and calms Pridamant by inviting him to show, with the help of “talking ghosts, the life of his son from the moment he left Rennes.

Acts 2-4.

The Adventures of Klindor Klindor

appears. He lives in Bordeaux and serves the Gascon "captain" Matamore, who looks after Isabella, a girl from a good family. Her father, Geront, is about to marry her off to the young Baron Adrastus. But Klindor, whom Matamor ordered to court Isaballa, makes her fall in love with him. Adrast, feeling that Isabella does not love him, enlists the support of her father and soubrette, Lisa, who is also in love with Klindor and, accordingly, is jealous. The maid promises to do so to catch Klindor and Isabella by surprise on a love date. The lovers fall into a trap, but Klindor ... kills Adrast. The hero, imprisoned and sentenced to death, escapes thanks to the help of the repentant Lisa.

Act 5.


Two years have passed. Isabella and Klindor are married to the English prince Florilam. Isabella finds her frivolous husband on a date with Princess Rosina, Florilam's wife. The couple explain themselves and Klindor, surprised by Isabella's generosity, decides to abandon Rosina. The princess appears and pleads, then threatens Klindor. Catastrophe! Florilam's men rush in, kill Klindor and Rosina, and kidnap Isabella, at the behest of the prince. Epilogue and the end of the illusion: the dead come to life and it turns out that it was all just a theatrical play. Pridamant is offended by the fact that his son became an actor (this profession was not respected by the townspeople). Alcander explains to him the nobility and usefulness of the new theater. Pridamant quickly changes his beliefs and decides to go to Paris, to his dear Klindor.