Compare Candide and Tartuffe

Topics: Age of Enlightenment, Candide, Voltaire Pages: 15 (5537 words) Published: October 21, 2012
In Tartuffe, Moliere's use's plot to defend and oppose characters that symbolize and ridicule habitual behavior's that was imposed during the neo-classical time period. His work, known as a comedy of manners, consists of flat characters, with few and similar traits and that always restore some kind of peace in the end. He down plays society as a whole by creating a microseism, where everyone in the family has to be obedient, respectful, and mindful of the head of the home, which is played by the father Orgon. Mariane shows her obedience when she replies "To please you, sir, is what delights me best." (Moliere 324,11) Shortly afterwards, Orgon commands Mariane to take Tartuffe as her husband even though she is not interested in him at all. Orgon's command shows how men are dominate and have control over social order. Mariane's strong obedience to her father (Orgon) supports the Neo-Classical element that the individual is not as important as society. Moliere discusses logic and reasoning by blindfolding Orgon to the reality of Tartuffe's intentions that causes him to make dumb decisions. In the process, Orgon disregard's his family when told of Tartuffe's intentions. After Tartuffe cons Orgon into believing that Damis's accusation is false Orgon replies, "I know your motives, I now you wish him ill:/Yes, all of you - wife, children, servants, all - /Conspire against him and desire his fall." (Moliere 341-342,46-48) Orgon then excommunicates his own son, indicating that his reasoning is deferred due to his ignorance. This in due course challenges the Neo-Classical belief that logic and reasoning is more important than emotion because Orgon acts solely on his emotions. He feels as if his family has turned against his friend so he operates upon his feelings. When Damis returns home and Tartuffe (instead of Orgon) gets locked up, order is restored. At the end, the family commends the officer for apprehending the true criminal by saying, "Heaven be praised! / We're safe. / I can't believe the danger's past." (Moliere 361, 84-87) This is when Moliere demonstrated the common saying that "what happens in the dark will eventually come to the light, therefore allowing confusion to re-establish its order. Moliere developed a series of flat characters, which satirized the Neo-Classic belief system. 


In Candide, Voltaire's approach is called black comedy. Many devastating factor's play into the character's lives that causes the reader to be amused in a cynical way in order to guard their inner feelings. He challenges society as a whole by the way he implements real life occurrences into his writing and makes them come alive. This becomes evident when Dr. Pangloss told Candide what came of Cunegonde at the castle of Westphalia after he left. Pangloss described her as being "disemboweled by the Bulgar soldiers, after having been raped to the absolute limit of human endurance." (Voltaire 524) This causes the imagination to display a vivid picture of the severity of the situation. Furthermore he challenges order by illustrating the human condition. Candide's confusion causes him to ask, "have they always been liars, traitors, ingrates, thieves, weaklings, sneaks, cowards, backbiters, gluttons, drunkards, misers, climbers, killer's, calumniators, sensualists, fanatics, hypocrites, and fools?" (Voltaire 557) There is an ongoing war between people, and all the while Candide and the others are attempting to maintain. Dr. Pangloss represents the optimism that Voltaire challenges. Pangloss show this by saying, "it was love; love, the consolation of the human race, the preservative of the universe, the soul of all sensitive beings, love, gentle love." (Voltaire 525) He challenges, " optimism by his representation of Dr. Pangloss. Dr. Pangloss's blind optimistic approach allows him to forget about the fighting that is occurring amongst people and he only sees love. 


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