L'Avare is a 1668 five-act satirical comedy by French playwright Molière. Its title is usually translated as The Miser when the play is performed in English.
The play was first performed in 1668 at the Palais Royal in a period when Moliere's company was, on the one hand, under considerable establishment pressure to modify its output, but on the other hand, under the protection of Louis XIV himself.
The Miser's plot, involving a rich money-lender called Harpagon, whose feisty children long to escape from his penny-pinching household and marry their respective lovers, is a comedy of manners to which the 17th-century French upper classes presumably objected. It is less savage, however, and somewhat less realistic than Moliere's earlier play, Tartuffe, which attracted a storm of criticism on its first performance.
The play is also notable for the way in which it sends up certain theatrical conventions. Many comedies from the Elizabethan period and onwards contain asides which are delivered by characters to the audience and which the other actors ignore. In L'Avare, however, characters generally demand to know who exactly these asides are being delivered to.
The play's ending is also self-consciously ridiculous, mocking the pat endings of many comedies that end in sudden revelation and marriage. Fortunately this joke is preserved for modern audiences of a certain age because the conclusion of the play is now rather reminiscent of the emotional climax of the Star Wars trilogy, namely that an unexpected character turns out to be everyone's father.