In Tartuffe, Orgon is having his daughter marry a man that’s not who he seems to be. Although Orgon is easily fooled he becomes overly obsessed at how “perfect” Tartuffe is. This obsession continues to grow until it is finally mastered by Elmire.
In the first act we learn how unnatural the beginning of the relationship is when all Orgon could do is rave about Tartuffe. It was to the point that there was absolutely nothing wrong with Tartuffe in the eyes of Orgon. In act 1 scene 4 Orgon is having a conversation with Dorine about Elmire, about how sick she was and couldn’t sleep, but all Orgon kept asking was, ”Ah. And Tartuffe?” (1.4.18) Also, in a conversation with Cleante, Orgon can only talk the best about Tartuffe and how amazing and how wonderful he is. He explains it as how Tartuffe frees Orgons soul and how he would be just like them. “Ah, when you meet him you two will be just like brothers! Theres been no loftier soul since time began.” (1.5.12-13) Someone that frees your soul and makes you feel that if your family died you would not care just seems extremely odd and unnatural.
Orgons treatment of Mariane shows a sinister side of his obsession with Tartuffe. In act 2 scene 1 Orgon begins to soften his daughter up by saying “You’re a sweet girl who’s tractable and mild/ whom I hold dear and think most highly of” (2.1.6-7) He then wants to know her most honest opinion about Tartuffe. Mariane is caught off guard by this, politely asking what her father would basically want her to say.
…”Tartuffe he is the worthiest men,
And that your fond of him, and would rejoice
In being his wife, if that should be my choice.
Orgon answers for Mariane and then proceeds to tell her Tartuffe will be her husband and making it very clear.
His obsessive blindness leads to his disinheriting of Damis. In act 3 Tartuffe meets with Orgon’s wife Elmire but during their conversation, Tartuffe begins to seduce Elmire. Luckily Damis in the closet sees and hears the whole thing, catching Tartuffe red handed. Damis then tells Orgon what Tartuffe has done. Orgon, shocked, starts to come around to believe Tartuffe is a hypocrite, but Tartuffe begins to essentially ask for pity and how he’s evil and deserves nothing.
“Yes, Brother, I am wicked man, I fear:
A wretched sinner all depraved and twisted,
The greatest villain that ever existed.
My life’s one heap of crimes, which grows each
Orgon is blinded by Tartuffe’s speech and in turn blames Damis for lying. Orgon disinherits and then rewards Tartuffe with the inheritance.
Elmire finally breaks through to Orgon. She plans “to show” Orgon that’s he is wrong: “Suppose that from hiding place in here/ you learned the whole sad truth from ear to ear?” (4.3.70-71) Orgon hides under the table and to his dismay Tartuffe begins to flirt with Mariane again, and he has been the one that was wrong all along. Thanks to Mariane, Orgon realizes the mistakes he has made.
Despite all the trouble Orgon causes with his family, between disinheriting Damis, forcing Mariane to marry Tartuffe, and not believing his wife Elmire, It is actually him who saves all of them though because of his earlier relationship to the king.