Neoclassicism In Tartuffe

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The Neoclassical Period greatly emphasized on reason and well-defined codes of behavior in society. Moliere challenges the philosophies and prevailing ideologies of this period through two female characters in the play of Tartuffe as he demonstrates that they are the voice of reason, with well-developed and exposed personalities that question the well-defined codes of behavior.
One of the females in Tartuffe is Elmire. During this time, wives were to be submissive to the male figure and that was the established code of behavior. Their social identity had no real worth because women always depended on their husbands for provision, social acceptance, and their future. Moliere definitely challenges these ideologies as Elmire is a polar opposite
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The servant woman in the 17th century was bound to the strictest obedience. They were to maintain silence in the public sphere and had no value to the eye of society. From the very beginning of the play, Dorine has overstepped her boundaries. She is only Mariane’s maid, but in reality she is the plays She is a lady’s maid to Mariane and is the most reasonable voice. Madame Pernelle gives us insight on Dorine’s personality when she says that under her control, “a servant with an opinion” (I, 1, 14), with no doubt “be out the door” (I, 1, 16). Dorine is a very strong-willed and opinionated character. Although Orgon is her superior, she seems to have no respect towards his authority in the household. For instance, Orgon says to Dorine “I asked for silence. This is what I get?” (II, 2, 145). Dorine replies in a very discourteous manner, “You said not to talk to you. Did you forget?” (II, 2, 146). Throughout the play, Orgon fails to cease Dorine’s comments and opinions. Any servant that were to disrespect a superior figure would be severely punished by the removal of their essential necessities. She also proves to be the most reasonable character in the play because she is not deceived by Tartuffes scheme. Dorine even knows that she has the capacity to be intelligent as she tells Orgon, “If you’d just heed the lessons that I give” (I, 2, 82). In every problem, Dorine is offering a solution or a word of reason. For example, in Mariane’s problem she swears to her that they will find a way for her and Valere to marry each other. Her voice of reason can be summarized in one of her comments to Orgon, “men are corrupted by wealth/ Out of concern for your spiritual health/…with pure motivation he is taking/ everything that keeps you from salvation” (V, 5, 9-12). She is able to understand far beyond the superficiality of the way society functions. Dorine being the lowest social rank

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