Tartuffe- Moliere Essay

771 Words 4 Pages
ENG 262 N

Religious Hypocrisy in Moliere’s “Tartuffe”
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Moliere was one of the greatest writers of the seventeenth century, being considered by many the greatest author of French comedy. In his plays, called “comedies of manners”, Moliere satirizes the morals and social conventions of his contemporaneous human society by using stock characters. In Tartuffe, a comedy of five acts, the main topic is the analysis of religious hypocrisy and leader figures of the seventeenth century, portraying Tartuffe in contrast with personages like Orgon.
The main character is Tartuffe, the hypocrite that tries to climb the social ladder by using Orgon’s ignorance and blindness. Tartuffe creates around himself an appearance of
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Orgon fells under hypocrite’s spell and offers him his food, his home, his wealth and his daughter. He becomes so obsessed with Tartuffe that he loses all sense of reason and almost destroys his own family.
Fortunately, a man like Tartuffe can only reach so far and their true personality is revealed: “There’s true and false in piety, as in bravery,/ And just as those whose courage shines the most/ In battle, are the least inclined to boast,/ So those whose hearts are truly pure and lowly/ Don’t make a flashy show of being holy./ There’s a vast difference, so it seems to me,/ Between true piety and hypocrisy” (Moliere 33).
Tartuffe is the image of the hypocrite who is willing to use false piety and religious speeches to get the attention and generosity of people around him “He guides our lives, and to protect my honor/ Stays by my wife, and keeps an eye upon her;/ He tells me whom she sees, and all she does,/ And seems more jealous than I ever was!” (Moliere 32). In fact he tries to gain total control over Orgon’s intimate life and promises Elmire “Love without scandal, pleasure without fear” (Moliere 58).
Orgon pictures a different type of leader. He is the head of the family, controlling the life of his children by deciding to break off Mariane and Valere’s engagement and force her to marry Tartuffe: “Because I am resolved it shall be true/ That it’s my wish should be enough for you” (Moliere

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