Importance of Reason
The Enlightment age was a very important time period; it started in the eighteen century. This age was also known as the age of reason. Men of this age felt they were "Enlightened" group. They believed they were coming to their senses, educated men of this time thought that the universe was logical, rational, and reasonable, and this could even out a man's modern passions and actions. They had the beliefs that they had come closer to any other age to figure out how the universe and men worked and how to live more a good life more reasonably. The Enlightenment also challenged many of the former ideas, one of which was ignorance. Orgon in Moliere’s, Tartuffe, exemplifies the idea of ignorance, due to the fact he is ignorant of Tartuffe’s true character. DORINE: “There was that headache Madame had the day you left. Well, it got really bad. She had a fever”. ORGON: “And Tartuffe?"
DORINE: “He’s fine- Rosy nose and red cheeked, drinking your wine.” ORGON: “Poor Man!”(1.4.8-14).
Although Orgon hears news about his ill wife, he only shows his care towards Tartuffe. He also fails to recognize that Tartuffe is tricking them and is not thinking as reasonably as Cléante is. In Act I, scene 5, Cléante is trying to talk sense into Orgon; he is the voice of reason in this scene. Cléante accuses Orgon of being unable to distinguish hypocrisy and true devotion to the family. He tells Orgon that his love of Tartuffe is unrealistic, and attempts to “enlighten” him about Tartuffe's true character: Cléante: “Orgon, listen, You’re out of your mind. / Or you’re mocking me. Or both combined. / How can you speak such nonsense without blinking?” (1.5.73-75). Although Cléante knows that Orgon is wrapped around his feelings for Tartuffe. Orgon believes so strongly in Tartuffe's piety and goodness that he is willing to sacrifice the happiness of his daughter, therefore thinking unreasonably and...
Cited: "Age of Reason." History - AllAboutHistory.org. Web. 20 Feb. 2010. http://www.allabouthistory.org/age-of-reason.htm.
Moliere. Tartuffe A New Verse Translation (ED. Norton Critical Editions_)_. New York: W. W. Norton, 2007. Print.
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