Issues in Tartuffe

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In Tartuffe, a play by Moliere, one of the main characters named Orgon brings in a hypocrite named Tartuffe, who is the antagonist of the play, into his household. Tartuffe pretends to be very religious and Orgon falls for his act. The scene I am selecting consists of Cleante, Organs’ brother-in-law, trying to convince Orgon of Tartuffe’s deceit . Cleante, in a secondary role in the play, is actually a strong character who voices reason to stabilize the conflicts of other individuals in the household. He is very contemplative and rational throughout his conversation with Orgon. The scene starts off with Cleante telling Orgon that he (Orgon) is a goose for believing Tartuffe’s false piety. Then Orgon says to Cleante that he (Cleante) does not know anything about Tartuffe. Cleante says his judgment is not so weak that he can not tell Tartuffe’s effects on others. Orgon then starts to praise Tartuffe by calling him a “good” man and says that he helped him extract himself from materialistic things and human ties which brought him closer to God. Orgon continues telling Cleante about the pious acts of Tartuffe such as refusing to take gifts from him, keeping an eye on his wife, and weeping at church during prayer. He says that these acts had endeared Tartuffe to him. Cleante attempts to point out that all these acts are part of Tartuffe’s false piety. He claims that there is a major difference between true piety and hypocrisy and Orgon has lost sense of the difference. In response to Orgon talking about the pious acts of Tartuffe, Cleante says that good deeds characterize a religious man, not loud protestations of devotion. He says that a person who has a pure heart doesn’t make a show of being holy, he keeps everything between God and himself. He says that Tartuffe lacks sincerity. He is devious and is entrapping Orgon in his illusions. He further says that Tartuffe doesn’t pray to God, he puts up an act of prayer to gain respect in the...
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