Argan, a fearful bu? miserly hyphochondriac, divides his time between summoning the doctor to care for his ills and trying not to settle the resultant bills. He resolves to marry his daughter, Angelique, to a medical student, hoping to acquire unlimited access to gratis consultation. The chosen fiance is an unattractive dolt, who would never interest Angelique, even is she were not already in love with clever, handsome Cleante, who poses as her music instructor.
Argan's wife, however, plans to send Angelique to a convent, removing her from the line inheritance. At the urging of the sensible servant Toinette, he feigns death to test his wife's affection only to discover her contempt. Again with the help of Toinette, the young lovers convince Argan to liberate himself from the twin tyrannies of his ailing body and his grasping physicians by becoming his own doctor.