There's a season for love and another for prudishness, and we may consciously choose the latter when the hey-day of our youth has passed—it may serve to conceal some of life's disappointments.

This passage from Act III, scene iv, captures Célimène's carefree—and often careless—spirit, as she speaks to Arsinoé. Célimène realizes that her youth is limited, so she therefore makes no apology for the freedom from propriety that youth affords her. Her words reveal a certain understanding of the cycle of life. She shows keen insight in blaming Arsinoé's age, rather than a character flaw, for the older woman's behavior.

Célimène's words also touch upon a deeper theme in the play—that of masking one's true self. She mentions that age might be used to "conceal," to distance oneself from the pains and prejudices of life. Age is only one of a variety of concealments applied in The Misanthrope. Even Célimène appears to be hiding her true feelings from Alceste. We cannot discern whether or not she really loves him, but it is likely that she cares for him more than her words might suggest. In this way, Célimène's mask is her language.