Tag Archives: fiction

True or not? Actors were once considered ‘professional liars’ and denied a Christian burial

Adrienne Lecouvreur as Cornelia  by Charles-Antoine Coypel

Too often I have been disappointed in trivia I had learnt as a teenager which I had for many years accepted as common knowledge, like the fact that eskimoes have an inordinate amount of words for the word ‘snow’, or the Victorians being prudish to the point that they covered their piano legs with embroidery to hide them from view.

Both the story of the snow and the piano legs turned out to be common misconceptions.

So I am pleased that what I had always accepted as fact, that actors were denied a Christian burial, does appear to be true.

Proof: French actress Adrienne Lecouvreur (1692 – 1730) who was refused a Christian burial by the Catholic Church upon which her friend Voltaire wrote the caustic poem, “Sur la mort d’Adrienne Lecouvreur“.

Why were actors refused a Christian burial?

Because — according to them — an actor is a liar.

This goes back to Plato, who said that fiction is untruth and untruths are lies. And we should not tell our children lies if we do not want to corrupt them.

Following his reasoning, actors are actually professional liars

Illustration: Adrienne Lecouvreur as Cornelia by Charles-Antoine Coypel