Molière and the Fitzgerald Rule
Like many writers, Molière had an unsettled relationship with his parents. His mother died when he was eleven and he wasn't close to his father. Being educated as a Jesuit is certainly an advantage for playwrights, as Jesuits approach moral problems by dissecting them carefully, rather than categorising them according to ideological moral binaries.
Molière also discovered acting at school and when he was 21 he gave up his post as 'valet of the King's chamber and keeper of carpets and upholstery' and went out with a theatre troupe, against the plan his father had made for him.
He then spent years learning his trade and taking false turns. He wanted to raise up theatre with tragedy. He became popular for his farces instead.
By the time he wrote Tartuffe he was forty four. Tartuffe of course has elements of tragedy and farce, and shows Molière's ability to blend the serious and the comic, something which makes his plays unusual. This blend also prompts equivocal responses from some people, such as with The Misanthropist, which some people feel isn't the right material for comedy.
But Molière wanted to correct social wrongs. His comedies were distinct from his farces in the same way that Chekov's later work was separate from his early farces. The aim was to parade the manners of the court, which as a former valet and performer for the king Molière was presumably familiar with, before the people whom he was satirising. Like Swift, he satirised the scientists of his day, in this case doctors. He wanted to correct as well as entertain.
So Molière's success came late. His early work is not what endures. But the elements of what made his later plays masterpieces can be seen early on in his life. And his persistence is evident from his death. He collapsed on stage performing in his last play The Imaginary Invalid. He then insisted on completing his performance and afterwards collapsed with a larger haemorrhage. He died at home where two priests refused to visit him while a third arrived too late to give the rites.
By coincidence he was wearing green when he died, the colour worn by the lead character in the Misanthropist, the social outcast who cannot live among people's hypocrisy and vanity anymore.