Tartuffe: Dysfunctional Family

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The Dysfunctional Family: The Truth about the New Normal

What is the definition of a dysfunctional family? Many would say some of the characteristics include fighting families, no disciplined children, and an unstructured disruptive environment. But, what if these common stereotypes did not exist and the family was still dysfunctional? In the literary writings Tartuffe and The Death of Ivan Ilyich, we will explore the different family dynamics and how being dysfunctional plays a part in their lives.

In Tartuffe, the matriarch of the family is Madame Pernelle, and she does not hold her tongue when speaking her mind to her family. As she so states,“ You, boy, grow more foolish every day. To think my grandson should be such dunce! I’ve said it a hundred times, if I said it once, that if you keep on the course which you’ve started, you’ll leave your worthy father broken-hearted.” (Norton; Vol. D; 2nd Edition; Pg. 315) The family’s disregard for her decision making does not sway Madame Pernelle from speaking her truths about Tartuffe. Even though she is not the main character, her disposition towards her family reveals an unhealthy dynamic. As she converses with each character, she makes it a point to expose everyone’s faults to justify her stance on revering Tartuffe as a godly man. The father in the play is Orgon, and he too takes a notable stance against his family in regard to criticizing Tartuffe’s integrity. Though he is not as forthcoming as the grandmother, he voices his distaste for his family’s dislike of Tartuffe in a manner in which he shows his dominance over his homestead.

In The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Ivan is the main character whose fascination with the social high life exceeds his ability to think for himself. He values his role in society so much that he conforms his life to fit in with the social lites. His wife is Praskovya, and she also puts on a facade when it comes to her true thoughts about her husband and his delimiting...
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