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 judging people on their morals and ideals, yet never once examines himself. He would rather magnify the flaws of others then look at himself for what he really is. He is also falls guilty to letting his love of a women, whom he was deceived by, outweigh his judgement.
In the beginning of Act One, Scene One, Alceste is quarreling with Philinte because Alceste believes that Philinte is a fraud:
I see you hug a man to death/
Exclaim for joy until you are out of breath/
Once the man’s back is turned, you cease to love him/...