Le malade imaginaire – Healing another man

In Le Malade imaginaire, Molière puts in scene Argan and Beralde. Argan is surprised that Beralde no longer has faith in medicine. Beralde thinks that medicine is a ridiculous activity, even madness.

Here is an excerpt:

ARGAN But let’s reason a little, brother. Don’t you believe in medicine?

BERALDE No, my brother, and I don’t see that, for his salvation, it is necessary to believe in it.

ARGAN What, you don’t believe in something that has been established by all the world and revered by all the centuries?

BERALDE Far from holding it true, I find it, between us, one of the greatest follies that exist among men; and, looking at things as a philosopher, I do not see a more pleasant mockery, I do not see anything more ridiculous, than a man who wants to meddle in healing another.

ARGAN Why don’t you want, my brother, that one man can heal another?

BERALDE For the reason, my brother, that the springs of our machine are mysteries, until now, where men see nothing; and that nature has put veils before our eyes too thick to know anything about them.

ARGAN Doctors do not know anything, on your account?

BERALDE They do, brother. They know most of the fine humanities, they know how to speak in beautiful Latin, they know how to name all the diseases in Greek, to define them and to divide them; but, as for curing them, that is what they do not know at all.

ARGAN But we must always agree that, on this subject, doctors know more than others.

BERALDE They know, my brother, what I told you, which does not cure much: and all the excellence of their art consists in a pompous galimatias, in a specious babble, which gives you words for reasons, and promises for effects.

Act III Scene 3, Le Malade imaginaire

General Knowledge: Health