Tartuffe- Moliere

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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 religious devotion, fact that attracts Orgon on his side: “He used to come into our church each day/ And humbly kneel nearby and start to pray […] He’d sigh and weep, and sometimes with a sound/ Of rapture he would bend and kiss the ground” (Moliere 32). Tartuffe is trying to gain Orgon’s benevolence by doing acts meant to impress: “When I rose to go, he’d run before/ To offer me holy-water at the door […] I gave him gifts, but in his humbleness/ He’d beg me every time to give him less” (Moliere 32). Tartuffe also gains Madame Pernelle’s sympathy: “He’s a fine man, and should be listened to./ I will not hear him mocked by fools like you” (Moliere 25). Tartuffe cannot fool the rest of Orgon’s family: the little maid Dorine thinks that “He’s a fraud” (Moliere 25), Damis describes him as being “full of holy speeches” (Moliere 25), and Cleante points out that “those whose hearts are truly pure and lowly/ Don’t make a flashy show of being holy” (Moliere 33). Cleante mentioned to Orgon that honorable people don’t have to prove everyone else their kindness and devotion. These words come in contrast with Tartuffe’s action, who instructs his manservant to tell anyone that he is busy giving out charity to poor people: “I’m going to the prison...
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