« "Holden On" to J.D. Salinger's _Catcher in the Rye_ | Main | "Seeing" Hemingway's _Old Man_ »

October 04, 2012

17th Century: Moliere's Tartuffe and the Age of Reason


Image Source: http://www.mccarter.org/Education/tartuffe/images/FrontispieceTartuffe.jpg.jpg

HON 250 Students,

This is the entry we'll be using for our 17th Century and Moliere discussions and homework assignments (do not post items due here elsewhere or you may not receive credit!). To complete course assignments, please follow the instructions you were given in class.

Remember, I have to "approve" all comments so you won't see it immediately after posting. After hitting submit, you should see a screen that confirms this.

See you in class,

Dr. Hobbs


Trailer of a production in English


Part of First Scene in original tongue.

Students, below, please enter your work on this text as prescribed in class:


_____________________________________

To see other English-Blog entries on the subject of Literature, please click HERE.

Posted by lhobbs at October 4, 2012 10:58 PM

Readers' Comments:

Antonette Boynes
HON ENG 226: Survey of World Literature II
Dr. Hobbs
1-16-2010
Tartuffe and Other Plays: Entry Ticket Discussion Questions

Q1) In Moliere’s Tartuffe and Other Plays, how many different literary conflicts are there? Give an example of each describing why it is a conflict in the play.

A2) In Moliere’s Tartuffe and Other Plays, there are three different conflicts presented throughout the play, the first conflict being man versus man. This type of conflict is exhibited entirely in the play when for example Madame Pernelle argues with Dorine and the other members of the house about the character of Tartuffe, but the biggest is perhaps everyone’s contempt towards Tartuffe that makes his encounters with everyone a factor in man versus man being a conflict of the play, which brings me to my second conflict presented in the play, man versus society. This conflict is not directly offered to the reader, but taking details of the reading into consideration, it seemed as though the whole town/country disliked Tartuffe (except for Madame Pernelle and her son, Orgon). Therefore, if taken into insight it could be well implied that Tartuffe was involved in a man versus society conflict in the country where he resided. The final and last conflict existing in the play, and probably the most important, is man versus self. This conflict has also been occurring in the entirety of the play where Madame Pernelle and Orgon failed to believe any of the dreadful truths that were told to them about Tartuffe. Again, this is not a conflict that is directly presented but one that I gathered from my deeper insight into the play and the definition of the conflict. Orgon displayed this man versus self conflict when his son told him the truths of Tartuffe and Tartuffe also admitted to the acts, but Orgon was so deep in his own beliefs that even though he had seen and heard, he did not want to believe, which in the end had to change.

Q2) Madame Pernelle and her son Orgon throughout the play seemed quite imprudent to the true character of Tartuffe despite the fact that they are being informed by everyone else. From the beginning of the play up until the scene where Damis is thrown out by his father for attempting to reveal Tartuffe’s hypocrisy, the author suggests to the reader that Tartuffe’s evilness will never be fathomed by Madame Pernelle and Orgon, where in the end, the opposite occurs. What term is used to describe this literary element and what other two types of this element occurred in the play. Give examples.

A2) The literary element used to describe the technique that the author used to the readers is an irony, more specific, irony of situation, where the opposite of what is expected occurs. The other two types of this element that occurs in the play are verbal irony and dramatic irony. Verbal irony occurs in the play when Damis endeavors to expose Tartuffe to his father after overhearing his sexual advances to Elmire. When this comes out, Tartuffe admits to every word of what Damis has told his father, but he does not mean it directly. His purpose for directly admitting was a slight version of sarcasm suggesting that he was very humble and would never do such a thing, so what he said, was not what he meant. The other type of irony is dramatic irony, where the audience knows more than the characters. There are two instances in the play where dramatic irony took place right after the other. The first, where Damis was hidden in the closet and Tartuffe and Elmire did not know that he was overhearing them. The second, when Orgon hid underneath the table while Elmire attempted to pursue Tartuffe so that Orgon could witness his true character. In both cases, the audience was more knowledgeable than the characters involved therefore making it a dramatic irony.

Posted by: Antonette Boynes at January 24, 2010 11:15 PM

Entry Ticket #1

Q: In Moliere’s Tartuffe, who do you feel is the most ‘reasonable’ character? In what ways does he/she exemplify the newfound ideas of logic and reason of the Enlightenment period?

Answer: I believe that Cleante, brother-in-law of Orgon, is the most reasonable of characters in this play. On page 262, lines 353-354 Cleante states, “My only knowledge and my only art Is this: to tell the truth and false apart.” This is exactly what he does consistently throughout the play. He attempts to guide Orgon in the direction of truth and persuade him into making the right decisions, in regards to Mariane and Valere, and Tartuffe. He does not try to manipulate anyone with elaborate, eloquent speeches or a false sense of pious zeal, but states facts and presents his arguments with nothing but truth. During the Enlightenment, ‘reason’ was the idea that everything had a logical explanation and did not have to be based solely on faith. On page 261, lines 339-340, Cleante says to Orgon, “Most men are strangely made; they always stray out of the proper and natural way.” Cleante makes reference to the fact that many men of this time period did stray away from the limitations of pre-Enlightenment ideologies and beliefs, and tries to tell Orgon that the times have changed, as well as the people. The reasoning Cleante using in his arguments and advice to Orgon in the play exemplify the new ideas of logic and reasoning of the Enlightenment.

Q: In line 966 of Moliere’s Tartuffe, Tartuffe says, “I may be pious, but I am still a man” (p 290). Do you feel that in Tartuffe’s speech, Moliere is continuing his theme of hypocrisy or making a genuine argument for the nature of man?

Answer: In this scene Tartuffe confesses his infatuation with Elmire, while he is alone with her. Although Tartuffe dramatically makes known his pious lifestyle, he defies all the values he has [falsely] assemble in his speech to Elmire. I think that Moliere was presenting a theme of the nature of man and his passion for the opposite sex, and the vulnerability he subjects himself to because of it. But, along with this idea, he continues the underlined theme of hypocrisy some people of the Enlightenment acquired. In his confession, Tartuffe pokes fun at silly men that make faithless declarations and triumph in them, which is exactly what he does consistently throughout the play. He defines himself as a man with great zeal towards living a life most genuine and true, yet he betrays his best friend and tempts a married woman, all these things are prime examples of the hypocritical fool Moliere wants presented in his play.

Posted by: Mary Strand at January 25, 2010 10:21 PM



1.) Q: On page 274, Dorine has a change of attitude and seemingly begins to encourage Mariane to become Madame Tartuffe. Why is this?

A: It has been established that Dorine is a sassy maid. Her beginning to “encourage” Mariane to marry Tartuffe is just a ploy, a sort of reverse psychology trick. Mariane is afraid of defying her father’s will despite her love for Valere. Dorine speaks of Tartuffe in a way makes it seem like she is praising his short comings but in the end it is just her being sarcastic. At the bottom of page 275, Mariane finally breaks down and asks for Dorines help to stop wedding bells from ringing in the future.




2.) Q: In Act III, scene 3 Tartuffe’s true nature begins to come to light. While speaking to Elmire he says, “The secrecy we offer is entire:/ The care we take to keep out own good name/ Guarantees our beloved against shame;/ Accept our hearts, and you will find, my dear,/ Love without scandal, pleasure without fear.” What is he trying to say to her?

A: Tartuffe is blatantly asking Elmire to have an affair with him. He insists that it would be kept a secret so that neither of them will experience shame. (Him losing the image as a “pious man” and her becoming a whore seeing as how she is married to Orgon.)

Posted by: Branka Trivanovic at January 25, 2010 10:25 PM

Erin Van Eepoel
Dr. Hobbs
Eng Honors.
01/24/10

Q: 1) In the play Tartuffe, only two main characters fell for Tartuffe’s act, Orgon and his Mother. Why do you believe they were so easily tricked?

A: Orgon and his mother both seemed to want to believe that someone could be all good. Madame Pernelle was very anxious to point out any flaws in her family members but refused to even consider that Tartuffe had any. Orgon believed Tartuffe over his entire family and even went so far as to banish his own son out of the house just for accusing Tartuffe of doing wrong. They both became so focused on Tartuffe’s perfection that they ignored all logic and advice.

2) Q: Dorine was used during the play to signify the sassy maid stock character. Many plays during this time used a lower class character as the voice of reason. Why do you think Moliere used this character?

A: During the time period of Moliere the middle and lower classes weren’t often represented as an intelligent main character. In Tartuffe Dorine represents a smart working class woman who seems to be the voice of reason throughout the entire play. Dorine’s sassy nature and the way she could command the situation was humorous and empowering to the lower class who could relate to her character.

Posted by: Erin Van Eepoel at January 25, 2010 11:10 PM

Dawn Serzanin
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 226H
26 January 2010

1. Q: It is said that blood is thicker than water, in Moliere’s Tartuffe is this statement shown to be true? How and why?

A: In Moliere’s Tartuffe the statement “blood is thicker than water” seems to be anything but true. Orgon is completely thrown off by Tartuffe his good friend who lives with his family. Tartuffe has Orgon and his mother eating out of the palm of his hand because of his devotion to religion and faith. The rest of the house repeatedly tries to warn them of his deceiving ways but all the warnings go unheard. Damis, Orgon’s son, is even thrown out when he tries to tell his father that Tartuffe is trying to have an affair with his mother. Fortunately for Orgon’s family he is convinced when he is forced into hearing Tartuffe trying to court his wife Elmire. Orgon himself has a tough time trying to convince his own mother, Madame Pernelle, that Tartuffe is a fake and deceitful man. Finally at the end of the play Damis shows that although he was kicked out his family is where his loyalty lies. The non believers apologize for not trusting their family’s warnings and the saying “blood is thicker than water” holds true to this play.

2. Q: Marriage is an ongoing discussion in Moliere’s Tartuffe, what connection can be made between the theme of imposters and the ideals of marriage?

A: I think that marriage was brought into this play to show how you must be true to yourself and your ideals always. A marriage would not work if you are not true with the other person involved. When you act as someone else nothing can work out simply. Orgon and Elmire have difficulty with their marriage because he believed others over his wife, one person who would never try to hurt him. Young Mariane shows how strong her belief is with this when she refuses to marry Tartuffe and claims she will join a convent even when her wish is to be with Valere. Marriage was a good symbol in this play because it is supposed to symbolize trust and faith in someone. This symbolism is paralleled well with the faith and trust some characters put into the fraudulent Tartuffe.

Posted by: Dawn at January 25, 2010 11:35 PM

Katherine Ganning
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 226 CAH1: Survery of World Literature II
26 January 2010
Moliere’s Tartuffe Discussion Questions

1. Q: During the time of the 17th century, servants were not known to be involved in the lives of the higher class unless for working reasons. In Tartuffe, the servant to Mariane, Dorine, plays an important role in showing the emotions of the characters. Explain how she connects the audience to the other actors.

A: During the five acts of Tartuffe, Dorine is constantly coming and going in the scenes. While Dorine scurries around the house trying to keep everyone emotions down, they are constantly rising. When reading the play, you don’t notice Dorine as one of the main insights into the lives of the main characters because of her small role portrayed, however as the climax progresses so does her connection.
Her role as the servant is rather a comical job. Due to her constant running to keep the saneness of the home intact, one forgets her actual role as a servant. The person of the house to which she caters to is Mariane. Mariane is in love with Valere who has recently heard of her arranged marriage. As the two lovers continue to argue over how to handle this, Dorine returns their hearts to one another and continues with the other members of the house, as well as Tartuffe.
Eventually, as the family tries to learn of the man called Tartuffe, Orgon, the father, realizes all of the advice and lecture he has been given by the people around him. In Act III scene VI, the father rambles off to his son about everyone lying to him about his friend Tartfuffe, “[…] You all hate him. Why, just today I’ve seen My wife, children, and servants vent their spleen […] (296)”.
If one relates the psychological madness behind the families’ thoughts, one would be confused and possibly could have related this to more of a love story, however through the comic relief of the characters, and personally through Dorine, one can follow her character and see the humor in the families’ problems.

2. Q: Compare and Contrast the symbol of love used in Moliere’s Tartfuffe between Valere and Mariane and Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet.

{Note from Dr. Hobbs: Katie, where is your answer to this question?}

Posted by: Katie Ganning at January 26, 2010 10:06 AM

Patricia Pothier
Eng 226 Survey of World Literature
Dr. Hobbs
1/22/2010

1. Q: In Moliere’s Tartuffe, the book touches on the subject of religious hypocrisy versus real Christian faith. Please discuss this theme as it is presented in the book.

A: The most prominent example of this theme can be found in a character analysis of Tartuffe and Cleante. Tartuffe is exposed as a hypocrite in the first scene of the first act of the play. The reader comes to understand that the majority of the other characters dislike him and are suspicious of his character. Tartuffe claims to be a devout believer in the Lord as well as a very pious man. His devotion to God is severely lacking as he is exposed as a hypocrite who is no better than a common criminal partaking in immoral activities. He is deceiving the master of the house, Orgon, while lusting after the lady of the house Elmire. He pretends to be honorable as he instructs the others as to how they should behave.
A proper example of true Christian devotion would be Cleante. Moliere created his character to show the distinction between piety and hypocrisy. Cleante is aware of Tartuffe’s real character but he is a reasonable man who does not lose his temper unlike the others. Cleante stresses the fact that those who are truly devout need not express it to everyone else. Since heaven can see the truth of his heart he does not feel the need to be showy about his faith. He also downplays the compliments he receives from Orgon in terms of being very knowledgeable and an academic scholar.

2. Q: The name Orgon has been tied to the word orgeuil which when translated into French means pride, as a noun. Explain how this translation relates to Orgon’s character.

A: Orgon’s character is rather complex. It is obvious that he is duped by Tartuffe but it is not easily understood why his character attaches himself to Tartuffe. It is entirely possible that Orgon has reached point in his life where he desires to be more pious in his actions. He is aging which could also be behind the attachment. In this bourgeois society many households allowed religious clergymen to enter their homes and give advice as it was a sign of wealth. This is an example of how Orgon is prideful. He makes several claims that it was very nice of him to allow Tartuffe into his home. He praises himself for giving Tartuffe money and helping him. Orgon believes that Tartuffe is someone to be admired and revered. He is far too prideful to admit that he could be wrong in his assumptions about the hypocrite.

Posted by: Patricia Pothier at January 26, 2010 01:44 PM

Entry Ticket 1: Moliere

1. How does King Louis XIV’s patronage affect Moliere’s writing?

2. How do the nicknames of the character Tartuffe (the imposter and the hypocrite) change the theme and reaction of the play?

{Note from Dr. Hobbs: Dana, please post your "answers" to these questions too--see the examples above yours}

Posted by: Dana Jennings at January 26, 2010 04:45 PM

Hey, Dr. Hobbs!

I'm just testing out the method for students who need to post to your blog. I thought that they might need to subscribe first. We shall see.

Please feel free to delete this post but if you wouldn't mind emailing me back to tell me how exactly students are supposed to do this assignment, I would appreciate it. That way, the next time another student asks, I will have a better answer to give.

Blue skies,
Sandy Hawes
Digital Resources Librarian
Associate Professor
Saint Leo University
sandra.hawes@saintleo.edu
1.352.588.8262

Posted by: Sandy Hawes at January 26, 2010 09:40 PM

D. Parizon
Dr. Lee Hobbs
ENG 226 (H)
27 Jan. 2010

Q.: In Moliere’s Tartuffe, the word “zealotry” is often mentioned. Considering, that it is one of the themes, what is so significant about it and who represents “zealotry”?
A.: Moliere satirizes preoccupation with unusually piety and morality of all the clergy of the church. Orgon (the protagonist) is representing “zealotry”; he is too obsessed with Tartuffe, who pretends to be a religious perfectionist, but in reality he is a hypocrite. Orgon’s neurotic fascination with Tartuffe deceitful preachments on religion and holiness is so powerful that he announces Tartuffe as his next heir. Orgon’s behavior towards his own family shows how dangerous zealotry really can be.

Q.:How does Tartuffe finally get exposed as a hypocrite and why did Orgon take so long to understand Tartuffe’s real character?
A.: The exposure of Tartuffe happens in Act IV, Scene 5-7, while Orgon is hiding under the table. Orgon’s wife, Elmire, finally wants to prove Tartuffe’s hypocracy. She warns Orgon not to be surprised by her strange behavior and he asks him to stop the whole masquerade whenever he is convinced that Tartuffe is actually a hypocrite. She also reminds her husband to spare her and not to expose her more than he needs to disillusion himself. When Tartuffe finally arrives, Elmire asks him to close the door and admits she is glad to see him. Tartuffe is confused by her change of behavior, but she gives the excuse that she is jealous about the prospects him marrying her daughter. However, Tartuffe is still not convinced of Elmire’s devotion and seeks proof by stepping closer to Elmire, who, on the other hand, steps back (and coughs toward the table). She asks the important question, which finally proves Tartuffe as a hypocrite in the view of Elmire: “But thus I would offend…that heaven that you love to talk about.” (Moliere 308). Tartuffe answers to this question that his purity of intent will be acceptable in Heaven and when a sin is committed in secret it is not called sin. Only the scandal of having the sin known can make the act a sin. Even with Tartuffe’s responds, Orgon still tries to deny the truth and does not stop the scenery but waits for more. This worries Elmire, who continues coughing towards her husband to stop this entire masquerade. Just after Tartuffe tells that Orgon “is a man to lead round by the nose…;” he comes out of his hiding place and stops everything (Moliere 310). Orgon allows his wife to be in an unpleasant position, but when he is the subject of a personal affront, he denounces Tartuffe as a scoundrel.

Posted by: Diana Parizon at January 27, 2010 04:45 PM

Muriel Clemens
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 226
Jan 21, 2010


Entry Ticket 1


Question One
The theme of the play Tartuffe is religious hypocrisy. Who is Tartuffe’s counter part and how is he different?

Answer
Cléante.
Cléante is Tartuffe’s opposite. He is the virtuous Christian in the play. Cléante is not only an honorable Christian but he is also the voice of reason.


Question Two
While reading Tartuffe it soon becomes clear that hypocrisy and deception are major themes of this play. With this in mind, what do you think the strongbox symbolizes?


Answer
It is a symbol of all the deception and secrets that are hidden from those all around us. The things that we wish no one to know about ourselves. Tartuffe gains custody of this strongbox and uses it to wield power over Orgon.

Posted by: Muriel Clemens at January 27, 2010 06:18 PM

Mary Strand
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 226
January 26, 2010
Family Discord/Dysfunctionality in Moliere’s Tartuffe
The dysfunctionality of Ogron’s family, throughout the play, is quite comical and not too far-fetched from that of a ‘normal’ family today. The family issues floating around are dramatized and played out in a humorous way, with the major source of chaos for Orgon’s family, coming from his own ignorance and stubbornness.
As Orgon is continually deceived and manipulated by Tartuffe, he creates an elaborate web of discord amongst the members of his family. In my opinion, the most extreme of these cases is the discrepancy that occurs between Orgon and his son Damis. Because of Tartuffe’s ability to sway Orgon in any way he desires, Orgon falls under his spell and becomes convinced that his own son Damis is defacing and betraying his best friend (Tartuffe). Orgon eventually throws his son out of the house and turns over his inheritance to Tartuffe. Orgon’s impaired judgment and inability to see into the conniving ways of Tartuffe, ruins all lines of trust between himself and his son. Damis is right to confront his father about the deceitful actions of Tartuffe, but because of his father’s feelings for Tartuffe, he probably should have gone about confronting him in a more discrete and factual way, in order to reason with his father and avoid future conflicts.
Mariane and Valere have what seems to be, an already melodramatic relationship without the drama that Tartuffe and his scandals bring to the family table. Orgon’s decision to marry his daughter to Tartuffe leads to an unnecessary argument between Mariane and Valere. The two love-struck teenagers engage in silly banter back and forth, accusing the other of false love. With some reasonable advice from Dorine the two realize that they are acting in the most ridiculous of manners, and the ignorant actions of Orgon should not tear them apart.
All through the duration of Tartuffe’s stay with Orgon’s family, the discord among the family continuously creates unnecessary arguments and rivalries. Without Orgon’s infatuation with Tartuffe and the trouble that they both cause, the family would function a lot better as a whole, but the play would not be as funny and ironic.

Posted by: Mary Strand at January 27, 2010 11:15 PM

Erin Van Eepoel
Dr. Hobbs
Eng Honors
01-26-10
In the play Tartuffe, the anamorate or young lovers were embodied in Marianne and Valere. During the play the main conflict between Marianne and Valere was that they wanted to be married but Marianne’s father steps in the way for her to marry another man. This is the classical conflict between thwarted lovers, both people are deeply in love but one major problem keeps them from being together. The young lovers are used as a stock character in many popular plays such as Romeo and Juliette, but Moliere took a slightly different angle at the old characters. In Moliere’s version the characters did not take a head on approach to expressing their love, instead they danced around the point with sarcasm.
Marianne and Valere are not the classical deep in love thwarted couple. Neither one wants to openly admit their love for the other, both would rather join in sarcastic exchange about Marianne’s upcoming nuptial with Tartuffe. The two lovers had a caddy quarrel, going back and forth trying to get a reaction. They were deeply in love but both wanted the other to admit love first. Eventually the sassy maid broke up their argument by making both of admit they loved each other and wanted to get married during Tartuffe and many other plays the young lovers always end up having a large issue to overcome but through it all they stay strong. In the case of Marianne and Valere their love eventually conquers the classical ideals of their time. Both lovers go against Marianne’s father’s wishes and choose to fight to be together.
In many plays the thwarted lovers have a painful and dramatic ending but Moliere had different ideas. At the end of the play Marianne and Valere had their relationship approved by her father and they finally had the permission they needed to be together.

Posted by: Erin Van Eepoel at January 28, 2010 12:18 AM



Branka Trivanovic
ENG 226 [HONORS]
Due 01/28/2010
Reading Response Prompt for Tartuffe




A reoccurring theme in Moliere’s Tartuffe is undoubtedly that of appearance versus reality. From Act I, Tartuffe is described as a pious man whose “sole concern” is that of Heaven, but the only people convinced of his piety are Madame Pernelle and her son, Orgon. Everyone else, from his wife, to his son, to his brother-in-law see something else in Tartuffe. Through the first two Acts all the audience has to go on is “he said, she said” until finally in Act III, Tartuffe himself makes appears on stage and proves what was suspected all along: he is not as virtuous as he seems. In scene 3, Tartuffe asks Elmire to have an affair with him. He promises to keep it a secret and that neither of them will experience “shame”. When Damis confronts his father about Tartuffe’s advance on his wife, Orgon refuses to believe him. Tartuffe himself admits that he did it but Orgon takes it as him being polite and forces Damis out of the household while allowing the scumbag Tartuffe to stay. It is only in Act IV that Orgon realizes what has been going on under his nose the whole time. Tartuffe’s appearance as a devoted and pious man is crushed by the reality that he is a sleazy, lying backstabber.


Another example of appearance being overtaken by reality is that of Dorine. In that time period she should have been nothing more than a housemaid that is uneducated and keeps to herself and her duties. She breaks the mold of what a typical maid “should” be and becomes the voice of reason in the otherwise chaotic household.

Posted by: Branka Trivanovic at January 28, 2010 12:23 AM

Katherine Ganning
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 226 CAH 17: World Literature II
28 January 2010
Tartuffe, Moliere and The Nature of Friendship.
By nature, humans use forms of communication in different ways. Between gestures and actions, we are able to express feelings to one another and eventually form levels such as love, companionship and friendship. Friendship is what keeps our communities in order and gives ourselves the ability to grow as individuals. In Moliere’s Tartuffe, he shows the power of friendship through many characters and how the sub-conscious mind wants and need the nature of friendship to gives us our nurture.
Moliere shows the good and the bad of friendships. With Dorine, she was only meant as a human of that time to not be important and to only answer when spoken of employee manners. However she is still human and with her knowledge of Orgon’s family, she is able to help the main characters, such as Valere and Mariane. Eventually in the end, one realizes her friendship with each family member because of her love, care and trust she gave to them. Of course, the audience knows she would maybe not be considered an outspoken friendship, but with our knowledge of the nature behind friendship, she really was a friend.
Contrast to Dorine’s expression of friendship, Tartuffe used his nature of friendship and used it to take advantage of Orgon’s Family. He was able to know well enough that as long as he kept his lies a secret and his friendship highly expressed he would be able to benefit from this family.
Although, throughout the play, Tartuffe realizes after he is caught with what he has been doing to the family, “[…] and for the sake of Heaven I’ll suffer all.” (Moliere 325). Due to the nurture surrounding him, Tartuffe was able to see the true reason behind friendship and wants to fix what was wrong and correct his natural personality.
Through interaction, we are able to see the positive and negative in people. In Tartuffe, Moliere shows us that friendship can go either direction, and although we might go down a wrong path, through the nature of friendship, one can find positive people which can help bring themselves back into line.

Works Cited.
Moliere, Tartuffe and Other PLays. New York, New York: Signet Classics, January 2007.

Posted by: Katie Ganning at January 28, 2010 09:50 AM

PART II of Discussion I. Sorry for the confusion!

Katherine Ganning
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 226 CAH1: World Literature II
26 January 2010
Compare and Contrast the symbol of love used in Molière’s Tartuffe between Valère and Mariane and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Between Molière’s love story between Valère and Mariane and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, one can see relations of the era in which both plays were written. The love between two people is always something extremely special and in both plays, the audience is able to see the passion and, hopefully, know how that feeling is and why it is so important.
What is interesting about both plays is that Tartuffe is a comedic love whereas Romeo and Juliet is a tragic love. Both love affairs are related to Shakespeare’s term as “star-crossed lovers”, which lead to secrets meetings and secret passion due to the both father’s of the daughter’s reasons. For Mariane in Tartuffe, his father has already arranged a marriage to take place with Tartuffe and for Juliet, the Capulet’s and Montague’s are in between a family feud.
In contrast to each love affair, the themes of both plays lead them to go in different directions. Eventually Tartuffe and Mariane’s wedding is called off and she is reunited with Valère, whereas Romeo and Juliet end in two tragic deaths in hopes of finally being together.
Both play’s show the symbol of love and what it sometimes must take in order to keep that love strong and bold. Today, we see love expressed in, some might call provocative, many different ways, but for Molière and Shakespeare they are able to show us the history of love and how it got to the level which we are in, better known as the present.

Posted by: Katie Ganning at January 28, 2010 10:14 AM

Katherine Ganning
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 226 CAH 17: World Literature II
28 January 2010
Tartuffe, Moliere and The Nature of Friendship.
By nature, humans use forms of communication in different ways. Between gestures and actions, we are able to express feelings to one another and eventually form levels such as love, companionship and friendship. Friendship is what keeps our communities in order and gives ourselves the ability to grow as individuals. In Moliere’s Tartuffe, he shows the power of friendship through many characters and how the sub-conscious mind wants and need the nature of friendship to gives us our nurture.
Moliere shows the good and the bad of friendships. With Dorine, she was only meant as a human of that time to not be important and to only answer when spoken of employee manners. However she is still human and with her knowledge of Orgon’s family, she is able to help the main characters, such as Valere and Mariane. Eventually in the end, one realizes her friendship with each family member because of her love, care and trust she gave to them. Of course, the audience knows she would maybe not be considered an outspoken friendship, but with our knowledge of the nature behind friendship, she really was a friend.
Contrast to Dorine’s expression of friendship, Tartuffe used his nature of friendship and used it to take advantage of Orgon’s Family. He was able to know well enough that as long as he kept his lies a secret and his friendship highly expressed he would be able to benefit from this family.
Although, throughout the play, Tartuffe realizes after he is caught with what he has been doing to the family, “[…] and for the sake of Heaven I’ll suffer all.” (Moliere 325). Due to the nurture surrounding him, Tartuffe was able to see the true reason behind friendship and wants to fix what was wrong and correct his natural personality.
Through interaction, we are able to see the positive and negative in people. In Tartuffe, Moliere shows us that friendship can go either direction, and although we might go down a wrong path, through the nature of friendship, one can find positive people which can help bring themselves back into line.

Works Cited.
Moliere, Tartuffe and Other PLays. New York, New York: Signet Classics, January 2007.

Posted by: Katie Ganning at January 28, 2010 10:18 AM

Dana Jennings
Dr. Hobbs
ENG-226
1-28-10
Reading Response 1
Reason vs. Emotion and Passion
Moliere’s Tartuffe is a play in which reason is a main theme and highly valued by the characters and is given precedent over emotion. I think that Moliere is in a state somewhere between the dispassionate Age of Reason and the Romantic era where emotions are more valued. On one hand the play shows how blind reason cannot save you from swindlers or conmen, but on the other hand letting emotions rule you gives you over to bad decisions and a loss of control.
I have long imagined that our country is built on reason and logic, but Moliere gives a new meaning to my definition of dispassionate. The characters let reason rule their minds, even to a fault. Orgon is nearly willing to let his family fall prey to Tartuffe because his reason based logic tells him he needs more proof than his entire family pleading with him and swearing the truth of their words. At varying times, every member of his household gives evidence of Tartuffe’s indiscretions, but Orgon stubbornly refuses to believe unless he sees it himself. He states, I would argue passionately, “I know what’s what, and I won’t be put off.” (304).
If passion is shown, it is displayed as silly and ineffective. This is exampled best when Mariane and Valere are arguing and attempting to get an emotional response from each other, Dorine gives this succinct description of the conversation, “Confound you two! Now stop this nonsense” (281). All of Moliere’s characters are struggling with their sense of reason being paramount and emotions being more truth to them than dispassionate logic.
While emotions are shown to be ineffectual, reason also has its time of inadequacy. Reason is seen to be the ruling logic, and they believe it is infallible. When confronted with his beloved wife’s claims, Orgon states, “I trust evidence more than anyone… You were too calm for me to be impressed; in fact, you didn’t seem the least distressed.” (303). I believe that logic fails Orgon and he latches onto their emotions as being a logical response to Tartuffe, if the claims were indeed true. I think this is Orgon grasping at straws to keep his reasoning sound, and indeed, it ultimately fails and he is forced to reevaluate his standing. I think this play shows how pure logic and reasoning cannot be paramount, because people bring in variables of emotion and motives unknown.

Works Cited
Moliere, Jean-Baptiste. Tartuffe and Other Plays. New York: Signet Classics, 2007. Print.

Posted by: Dana Jennings at January 28, 2010 10:39 AM

Dana Jennings
Dr. Hobbs
ENG-226
1-26-10
Entry Ticket 1: Moliere
1. How does King Louis XIV’s patronage affect Moliere’s writing?
A. It can be argued that the King’s benevolence, on the one hand, allows Moliere to have an audience where he would otherwise have none, but on the other hand can be considered detrimental to his writing style. In Tartuffe, Moliere has an incredibly progressive intrigue throughout the play, and then in the last act the benevolent and omniscient King shows up (in the form of his armsman) and saves the day from out in left field.
2. How do the nicknames of the character Tartuffe (the imposter and the hypocrite) change the theme and reaction of the play?
A. Tartuffe has become synonymous with imposter, and all three words are used interchangeably when in reference to the antagonist. Readers can take refuge behind these words as pointing to the falsity of the piety of Tartuffe, therefore disconnecting themselves from him. Readers can look at him and laugh, comfortable in their innocence, while quietly seeking to change their own ways (not necessarily in reference to religion).

Posted by: Dana Jennings at January 28, 2010 10:40 AM

Muriel Clemens
Dr. B. Hobbs
ENG (Honors) Survey of World Literature II
January 21, 2010


Response For Molière’s Tartuffe


If Orgon were to be transported to the 21st century he would, with out a doubt, be diagnosed with an obsessive disorder. Dorine says it best:
During our civil wars he showed good sense,
And served with courage in his king’s defense;
But since he’s taken Tartuffe as hero,
His sanity has been reduced to zero. (181-184)
Tartuffe has become the object of Orgon’s obsession and the family is paying a high price for Orgon’s behavior.

Dorine’s statement about Orgon’s behavior during the civil wars is profound. It tells us that Orgon was a different man before he met Tartuffe. He was a good man. So what went wrong? Perhaps the wars left a hole in his soul and he believes Tartuffe represents the piety and the reverence towards God that would alleviate the guilt of the sins he committed during the civil wars. Whatever the reason, Orgon becomes obsessed - not with the man but with what he represents. He believes Tartuffe had a relationship with God that he himself was unworthy of.

Orgon’s obsession takes a toll on his relationship with his family. He wants to force his daughter to marry Tartuffe, he disinherits his son, and he practically forces his wife to have an affair with Tartuffe because he does not believe her when she tells him Tartuffe is a scoundrel and a deceiving hypocrite. Because of Orgon’s unwillingness to see the truth, he almost loses everything. But, not to worry, the king’s man swoops in to save the day.

Orgon is a man who, because of his obsession, can’t see the forest through the trees. If not for the persistence of his family, all would be lost. This is not a story about redemption, it is a story of the dangers of obsession, and how being blind and refusing to see the truth can lead to folly.


Works Cited
Moliere, Jean-Baptiste. Tartuffe and Other Plays. New York: Signet Classics, 2007. Print

Posted by: M. Clemens at January 28, 2010 03:49 PM

Diana Parizon
English 226 – Honors
Dr. Hobbs
28. January 2010
The power of underdogs
For aristocrats and members of the clergy, in 1664, nothing was worse than an underdog, who excersised great acumen. This issue was represented in Moliere’s play Tartuffe. Moliere used stock characters for his commedia dell’arte – a fool, a beautiful girl, or a witty outspoken maid. The maid, Dorine, is only a low-class servant in the house of Orgon but still has the courage to stand up for her opinions without considering the consequences that might come from her actions. In the play Tartuffe, she is the “voice of reason” who sees through Tartuffe’s charlatan ways and is not afraid to speak her mind. Significant to her character is her courage to challenge her master’s idealism of Tartuffe as seen in Act II, Scene 2, when she, as always, interrupts the conversation between Orgon and his daughter, Mariane. Dorine points out all the reasons for Mariane not to be betrothed to Tartuffe; in addition, she gives an aptly modern view of marriage. According to Dorine, if Orgon forces his daughter to marry a man she cannot love, he would be responsible for the sin his daughter would surely commit – infidelity.
An interesting question to ask is how Dorine – who obviously is more than a maid but also a companion to Mariane – gets her sense of reason and intelligence. In the 17th century, maids were supposed to be quiet, play dumb, follow their duties, and be invisible for the household, but this is not Dorine. Moliere portraits her as the opposite of an ordinary maid, and created her as the voice of the audience. Everything Dorine expresses is mostly the exasperations of the audience. Her knowledge can be assumed because of her constant eavesdropping and interference in everybody’s conversation in the household, and she knows enough to speak intelligently to other characters. The power of the underdog may be great, but it is up to the others to acknowledge that power to be able to find the truth.

Posted by: Diana Parizon at January 28, 2010 05:09 PM

Katie Ganning
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 226 CAH1: Survey of World Literature II
2 February 2010

My Feedback on Erin Van Eepoel’s Comments on the "Young Lovers" in Moliere’s _Tartuffe_

I am responding to Erin Van Eepoel’s reading response to Moliere’s Tartuffe. Erin’s focus was about the two lovers, Marianne and Valere. What was agreeable with the argument she established was the comparison of Shakespeare’s, Romeo and Juliet’s love story. In both stories, the lovers need to keep hiding from their parents in order to be together. What I noticed in the response was the explanation about Moliere not creating a typical classical love story and more of a sarcastic love story however, during the time of the 17th century arranged marriages were common. Instead of creating a typical love fantasy, he added a twist into the real world of the era.

Posted by: Katie Ganning at February 2, 2010 05:01 PM

Diana Parizon
English 226 - Honors
Dr. Hobbs
2 February 2010

My Response to Mrs. Clemens’ Ideas about "Orgon's Obsession" in _Tartuffe_

My response is on Mauriel Clemens’ original response to Moliere’s play Tartuffe where she mainly wrote about Orgon’s obsession with Tartuffe and the consequences of this. She analysis the beginning of Orgon’s obsession very nicely and explains what happened in the past as well an idea of how Orgon observed his past experience. Mauriel also included nice examples of the consequences of Orgon’s obsession which proves only her last paragraph which is about the danger of obsession. However, she includes in the first paragraph a stanza from the play without really going back to the quote to explain each line. The last two lines of the stanza is only Dorine’s opinion about Orgon, which she could have included in the other paragraphs with examples or explanations. My last suggestion would be, while Mauriel states that in the 21st century, Orgon’s behavior would be diagonosed as an obsessive disorder, she could have also include a small explaination of what exactly it means to have an obsessive disorder (even though everyone knows what it is, for the sake of the paper a small definition with an example).

Posted by: D. Parizon at February 2, 2010 06:24 PM

Tommy T.
The "Response-Response"
02-03-2010

In my response to Mary's original response to Moliere's _Tarrtuffe_, her topic was based on family discord. I would have to agree with Marys points on family discord throughout her response. Marys main point was that Orgons family is similiar to families in current time. Families always will fight and sometimes go overboard with with their argument; just like Orgon did with his son by kicking him out of the house. However, she based this response on just one argument through the family. her other response was about Mariane and Valere, however they are not related or married. I think that Mary should have added more details on the family and how they are like families in todays society.

Posted by: Tommy T. at February 3, 2010 04:02 PM

Mary Strand
Dr. Hobbs
February 2, 2010

Response Response

I am responding to Tommy Tagliavia’s original reading response to Moliere’s play, Tartuffe. In his response, the focus was the theme of “injustice” seen throughout the play. An interesting point you stressed in your paper was the fact that despite Tartuffe’s unjust trickery of the family, the members of this family spoke very ill of him without giving him an opportunity to defend himself. While reading Tartuffe, my focus was so much set on the hypocrisy and deceitfulness of Tartuffe that I did not take time to think of the faults among other members of the family. The one thing that I would have liked to see more of in your paper would be references to the text (page numbers, lines, etc.). You made the point of Tartuffe acting as a dictator and ruling those around him, which is a very good analogy, but you could have given more examples of this behavior and specify his unjust acts as the ‘dictator’. Good Job!

Posted by: Mary Strand at February 3, 2010 07:46 PM

I am responding to Patricia Pothier's original response to Moliere's Tartuffe where she focuses on the theme of fanaticism. I found very interesting that Patricia used the era of the French society to explain why Moiliere decided to incorporate such a theme in his play. The background information helped me to understand and get a better insight of what Moilere was, or could have been going through and informative showing knowledge of the book and drawing scenes from the play as references. My only discomfort in reading this response was the repitition of the word fanaticism which wasn't a big problem, but could have been omitted at times.

Posted by: Antonette Boynes at February 3, 2010 08:02 PM

Muriel Clemens
Dr. B. Lee Hobs
ENG 226 Survey of English Literature II (Honors)
3 February 2010

Response-Response to Molière’s Play Tartuffe
The Power of the Underdog

I am responding to Diana Parizon’s original response to Moliere’s play Tartuffe. The theme of her paper was the power of the underdog. Diana, your choice of Dorine, the sassy maid, surprised me. Because of the maid’s brazen disposition I did not see her as an underdog. Seeing her this way was a new perspective for me. Seeing Dorine through your eyes was a pleasure. Your paper was well thought out and easy to read. Your writing was insightful, well organized, and concise. The only thing I would have done differently would have been a third paragraph for the conclusion. Other than that, this was an excellent paper.

Posted by: M. Clemens at February 3, 2010 09:43 PM

Jeremy Doty
HON ENG 226: Survey of World Literature II
Dr. Hobbs
2/4/10
Reading Response-Response
I am responding to Branka’s response to Tartuffe. She is talking about appearance verses reality. I think the examples she talked about were great, but I think some of the examples might be better described as misrepresentation. What was meant by “he said, she said” in the first two acts? What was the discussion about that Tartuffe was having?
I think that Branka brought out great points and showed what made Tartuffe’s true colors show. I’m not sure that I would have changed the subject to talk about the maid, I think I would have stayed with showing how sleazy Tartuffe was.

Posted by: jeremy doty at February 4, 2010 09:02 AM

Dana Jennings
Dr. Hobbs
ENG-226
2-5-10

Response-Response of Love

I am responding to Katherine Gannings’ original response to Tartuffe where her focus was on the theme of love. One thing I thought she did well was to take the direction of her paper to contrasting it with Romeo and Juliet, as it seems it would be a fertile subject. I would like to see more in depth analysis on the points, with passages comparing each of those two plays. As in to answer, ‘how do Moliere and Shakespeare show that love between two people is always something extremely special?’

Posted by: Dana Jennings at February 5, 2010 11:00 AM

-----------------

*NOTE* The deadline for the assignment shown above this message has now passed. Any comments listed below this message are *ONLY* for the reposting of comments that I specifically asked to be revised or are ones from non-student posters. Any 'student' posts below that missed the assignment deadline will not get credit for the assignment.

Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at March 12, 2010 02:29 PM

Stacey Bigge
Dr. Hobbs
HON 250 CA02 The Humanistic Tradition
16 October 2012

Question 7:
Does Mariane defend herself well? Does she have help? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text to support your answer.

Answer 7:
It is evident that Mariane does not defend herself well on her own, but Dorine makes it her job to help her out. When Orgon commands Mariane that she will be marry Tartuffe the most of a fight she puts up is to say, “But, father, I protest it isn’t true! / Why should you make me tell this dreadful lie?” (Moliere, 12). It is clear that she is not happy with the proposed situation, but it is also very evident that she wants to please her father. Her statement illuminates this: “To do so [to do as her father wishes] is the height of my ambition” (Moliere, 11).
Initially eavesdropping on the conversation between Orgon and Mariane, Dorine decides to give more than her two cents on the situation and back Mariane up. In fact, she simply does not stop protesting for a prolonged amount of time. For instance, she dismantles Tartuffe by stating, “The man who cares for holiness alone / Should not so loudly boast his name and birth” (Moliere 13). After interrupting Orgon many a times, she gets a moment alone with Mariane and tells her, “Say, have you lost the tongue from out your head? / And must I speak your role from A to Zed?” (Moliere, 15). She pushes Mariane to put up more of fight to stop this marriage proposal with Tartuffe, and fight for the love she has with Valere.

Posted by: Stacey Bigge at October 16, 2012 11:40 PM

Sarah Nobles
Dr. Hobbs
HON 250 CA02 The Humanistic Tradition
17 October 2012


Question: What causes the misunderstanding between Valere and Mariane? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text to support your answer.


Answer: The fight between Valere and Mariane begins with Valere asking her about her recent engagement to Tartuffe. Valere accuses Mariane of never loving him at all, saying "Of course it is; your heart has never known true love for me," (page 33). Mariane insists that Valere will be fine, that he'll easily be consoled. Valere, however, insists that he is heart broken. "I’ll try my best, that you may well believe. When we’re forgotten by a woman’s heart, our pride is challenged; we, too, must forget; or if we cannot, must at least pretend to. No other way can man such baseness prove, as be a lover scorned, and still in love," (page 33). Mariane's cool demeanor and "I don't care" attitude upsets Valere even more, insisting that this is a great insult to him. The fact that he leaves without a single protest from Mariane also deeply saddens him.

Posted by: Sarah Nobles at October 17, 2012 12:51 AM

William Berry
Dr. Hobbs
Hon 250 Humanistic Traditions
16, October, 2012

Question: Why is Madame Pernelle leaving the household? Explain. Use quotes from the passage to support your answer.

Answer: Madame Pernelle is leaving the household, because of the actions of her son’s second wife and the wife’s brother. Madame Pernelle views the two as bad influences living a sinful life, and a bad influence own her grandchildren. Madame Pernelle says “Daughter, by your leave, your conduct/ In everything is altogether wrong; You ought to set a good example for ‘em; / Their dear departed mother did much better / You are extravagant; and it offends me, / To see you always decked out like a princess. / A woman who would please her husband’s eyes / along, wants no such wealth of fineries.” Madame Pernelle is calling Elmire a narcissist; she only cares for impressing others and displaying wealth and pride. Elmire and her brother both do not like Mr. Tartuffe, believing him to be a hypocrite while Madame Pernelle sees him as a holy man trying to lead them from their sinful action to heaven. For this Madame Pernelle makes her leave of them, seeking a better place to live.

Posted by: William Berry at October 17, 2012 07:10 AM

Zach Brasseur
Dr. Lee Hobbs
Hon 250
17 October 2012

Question: At what point does the reader or audience realize that Orgon is acting strange? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text to support your answer.

Answer: The reader first gets the idea that Orgon is behaving strangely is when he is discussing his opinion of Tartuffe with Cleante. He speaks very highly of him, giving an account of when he tried to give Tartuffe a gift, "but in his humbleness/He'd beg me every time to give him less." (I. v.) This is contradictory to everyone's opinion so far. Cleante reacts by saying "Good God, man! Have you lost your common sense?" (I. v.). Cleante believes that Orgon is not the same as he was and something is very wrong.

Posted by: Zach Brasseur at October 17, 2012 01:39 PM

Rhett Pringle
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
HON250 CA02 Humanistic Tradition
17 October 2012

Question: “What is Orgon alluding to when he says he will be guided by “Heaven’s will.”? Explain.

Answer: Orgon is basically saying that he will do whatever Tartuffe tells him to do. “I shall do the will/ Of Heaven”(pg. 22) At this point in the story Orgon is completely infatuated by Tartuffe’s alleged piety and good-nature, and will do exactly what Tartuffe recommends, much to the dismay of his family and friends. Orgon wants to be holy and faithful to Catholic morlas, and he believes he is doing the right thing by taking advice from a "religious" person.

Posted by: M. Rhett Pringle at October 17, 2012 02:01 PM

Anna McEntee
Dr. Hobbs
HON250 CA02
October 17, 2012


Question:

Why is Madame Pernelle dissatisfied with Dorine? What is one larger implication behind a character like Dorine’s having so many lines? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text to support your answer.


Answer:

Madame Pernelle, in the first act of Tartuffe, is very dissatisfied with the character of Dorine. She does not care for Dorine because she doesn’t like what she has heard about him and his conduct. “These arguments are nothing to the purpose. Orante, we all know, lives a perfect life; her thoughts are all of heaven; and I have heard that she condemns the company you keep.” (Act I Scene I). Dorine, having about just as many lines in the first three acts, establishes himself as a main and dominant role in the play. He argues back at Madame Pernelle with his words and is not afraid to stand up to her stubbornness. “Our neighbour Daphne, and her little husband, must be the ones who slander us, I'm thinking.” (Act I Scene I). The two roles butt heads, but at the same time establish themselves as leaders of the plot.

Posted by: Anna McEntee at October 17, 2012 02:25 PM

Stacey Bigge
Dr. Hobbs
HON 250 CA02 The Humanistic Tradition
21 October 2012

Act IV Discussion Question:
At the very start of Act IV Cleante confronts Tartuffe about why he allowed for Orgon to disinherit Damis and Cleante proclaims, “Should not a Christian pardon this offence, / And stifle in his heart all wish for vengeance? / Should you permit that, for your petty quarrel, / A son be driven from his father’s house?” (Moliere, 29). He also demands, “Shall petty fear of what the world may think / Prevent the doing of a noble deed?” (Moliere, 30). Are these statements, and Cleante as a character, a representation of humanistic thought? Why or why not? Explain.

Posted by: Stacey Bigge at October 21, 2012 01:18 PM

Zach Brasseur
Dr. Lee Hobbs
Hon 250
21 October 2012

Tartuffe, Act 5

Question: At the beginning of Act 5, it is obvious that Orgon has changed. In what way has he changed and how does that affect the outcome of the play? Has Madame Pernelle changed at all? Compare and contrast her words/actions with those of Orgon in Act 5.

Posted by: Zach Brasseur at October 21, 2012 05:24 PM

Sarah Nobles
Dr. Hobbs
HON 250 CA02 The Humanistic Tradition
22 October 2012


Question Act V: Orgon is continuously asking Cléante for advice. Could Cléante be considered the source of reason throughout the play? Do you think Cléante sees through Tartuffe's plot before everyone else? Provide examples supporting your choice.

Posted by: Sarah Nobles at October 22, 2012 01:55 AM

Rhett Pringle
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
HON250 CA02 Humanistic Tradition
22 October 2012

Question: When Orgon is hiding under the table to witness Tartuffe’s advances on his wife Elmire, he waits a long time for the situation to play out before revealing himself. Orgon is so devoted to Tartuffe that he would rather trust him than believe his own wife accusations. How has the relationship between Tartuffe and Orgon changed up to this point? How has Orgon’s relationship with his wife changed? Explain. In your answer, you need to quote exact passages from the text as evidence with paragraph/page numbers for easy reference.

Posted by: M. Rhett Pringle at October 22, 2012 01:58 AM

William Berry
Dr. Hobbs
Humanistic Traditions
22, October, 2012

Question: Act III, why would Orgon wish to marry his daughter to Tartuffe? What could be possibly gained? Was this a result of the affair between Tartuffe and Elmire?

Posted by: William Berry at October 22, 2012 07:51 AM

Anna McEntee
Dr. Hobbs
HON250 CA02
October 22, 2012


Act I Discussion Question:

In Act I of Tartuffe, much is said about Tartuffe the character, though he is not yet introduced. Based on the other character’s opinions of him, what kind of person would you take him to be? What kind of character as well? Flat, having no personal dynamics, or round, having a depth of character?

Posted by: Anna McEntee at October 22, 2012 12:31 PM

William Berry
Dr. Hobbs
Humanistic Traditions
28, October, 2012

In Tartuffe by Jean-Baptist Poquelin Moliere, the setting is crucial for the play; being in Paris, the cast system, and the importance of the church at the time. If the play was altered in any way the impact of the work would be greatly lessened. The complexity of the work would resolve to a simple love affair instead of a man attempting to play everyone for the fool, enrich his status, and being the hypocritical “holy man”. The setting is the other half of the work to make it who besides the text in which the characters are created, without the setting they are simply standing before a white backdrop.

Paris, the capital of France, known as the city of love, at the time in which Tartuffe was written; home of the prince, full of lords and ladies, wealthy merchants, and scrupulous neighbors gossiping rumors with ease as if they were drinking wine. All make appearances in the novel by word of mouth, the constant questioning of “What will neighbors think” or “how will this reflect on us”. There is the feeling of constant scrutiny over every detail, looking for the possibility of self-advancement or to make sure no one surpasses their status. This is one of the main ploys in Tartuffe. After being kicked out of Orgon’s house Tartuffe attempts to ruin him, take his property and have Orgon put in prison. Such absurdity would not work anywhere else then Paris, where back stabbing, and back room deals were second nature to all.

Being in Paris at such a time implied importance to the crown; a distant relation, strong supporting lord or merchant, or an enemy of state. Orgon’s family should be put in the category of supporting lord, based on him controlling lands, having a great estate, and men working underneath him in the name of the crown. They are below royalty, but above merchants, and peasants. It was not bad to be a merchant at these times, it was highly profitable if they sold the right items, but you could not as easily ruin a merchant as one could a lord. The lords had been often frivolous, unabashed and wasteful. An example of this is Orgon giving Tartuffe his estate as a gift. “The deed of gift transferring you estate” Act V Scene VIII, in this instance the bailiff is informing Orgon that the prince is making the deed of transfer null and void. There would have been no need if Orgon had been more scrupulous of his property.

The church still had a role in politics at the time and while in Paris many attempted to appear more virtues then many around them. With importance focused upon being holy, it easy to see had a man like Tartuffe could come into existence. He used Orgon’s fear of sin and going to hell as a gateway into which could enter his home, from there he could do as he wished since he had Orgon’s love and blessing. “And how about Tartuffe?” a question that Orgon asked after a long journey, focusing solely on Tartuffe’s care above that of his sick wife, making it plain Orgon’s focus was not for love nor charity, but attempting to purify his house with a so called holy man.(Act II Scene VI).
In Tartuffe the setting makes the greatness of the play come into existence. If one thing was changed, from Paris to another city, Orgon not being a lord, or the fact of Tartuffe attempting to be a holy man, the piece would not be as well remembered. It would suffer due to the time period in which it was set, were all who were important lived in Paris, that lords were free with money as a beggar is with air, and that the church still had influence making some men susceptible to fraud.

Posted by: William Berry at October 29, 2012 07:04 AM

-----------------


*NOTE* The deadline for this particular assignment has now passed. Any comments listed below are *ONLY* for the reposting of comments that I specifically asked to be revised or are ones from non-student posters. Any 'student' posts below that missed the assignment deadline will not get credit for the assignment.


~ Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at November 6, 2012 08:00 PM

Stacey Bigge
Dr. Hobbs
HON 250 CA02 The Humanistic Tradition
26 November 2012

Fool vs. Fool

There is no doubt that in the great works of Voltaire’s Candide and Moliere’s Tartuffe, there are characters that display great foolishness. In particular, these characters are Orgon in Tartuffe and Candide in Candide. Both Orgon and Candide are very foolish at times, which comes out through each of their rashness and gullibility, yet their realizations of their foolishness evolves differently for each of them, which can bee seen through their actions in regards to philosophy and religion women, and wealth.
The foolishness of both Orgon and Candide can be seen in their approaches to philosophy and religion. Orgon believes Tartuffe to be the man of God he claims to be as shown when Orgon states, “Ah! If you’d seen him, as I saw him first, / Kneeled, on both knees, right opposite my place, And drew the eyes of all the congregation, / To watch the fervor of his prayers to heaven” (Moliere 1.6). There is no hesitation of whether he believes in Tartuffe as a pious man or not, which shows all at once his gullibility and his rashness to jump to conclusions. However, this does change by the end of Moliere’s work when he is finally able to see what a fool he has been for believing in Tartuffe’s holiness. Upon realizing Tartuffe’s advances on his wife, Orgon finally repents his beliefs in Tartuffe’s piousness when he declares, “My holy man! You want to put it on me! / How is your soul abandons to temptation!” (Moliere 4.7). His realization of his foolishness is more of a revelation than it is for Candide whose realization of his foolishness is more of a slow and changing process. At the start, and then throughout different parts of the storyline, Candide believes in Pangloss’s teachings of “In this best of all possible worlds” wholeheartedly (Voltaire 5). This is demonstrated as he “Listened attentively and believed innocently…” (Voltaire 5). However, you can see in other instances when he starts to question his approach and interpretation of Pangloss’s philosophy of eternal optimism. For example, he acknowledges his foolishness when he and Martin see a suffering slave in the middle of the street. Upon seeing this “Price at which” they “Eat sugar in Europe,” Candide exclaims, “Oh, Pangloss! Thou hadst not guessed at this abomination; it is the end. I must at last renounce thy optimism” (Voltaire 44). However, shortly after this interaction, Candide is with the eternally pessimistic Martin when Candide tries to tell him, “There are, however, some good things” (Voltaire 48). While this is not the wide-eyed gullible Candide seen at the start of the novel, it is still a step in the direction of once and for all renouncing Pangloss’s philosophy and making recognition of how foolish he has been. For now he does not believe in everything to be good, but only “some” things. This further shows that his progression to realizing his foolishness is just that – a progression – not the sudden comprehension that it is for Orgon. He finally seems to grasp his past mistakes and foolish decisions at the close of Voltaire’s work when Pangloss continues preaching his philosophy and Candide cuts in and states, “All that is very well, but let us cultivate our garden” (Voltaire 79). This flip-flopping of Candide displays, all at once, the rashness and gullibility that can also be seen in Orgon, but also the evolution of realization that Orgon does not exemplify.
Orgon’s and Candide’s approach to the women in their lives further shows how they are not only very foolish, but how their foolishness is realized at different times for each of them. Orgon is blind to Tartuffe’s advances on his wife Elmire, even when his son Damis states with the utmost conviction, “I’ve just surprised him making to your wife / The shameful offer of a guilty love / …But I will not condone such shamelessness, / Nor so far wrong you as to keep it secret” (Moliere 3.5). Orgon responds by shouting, “You miscreant, can you dare, with such a falsehood, / To try to stain the whiteness of his virtue?” (Moliere 3.6). This conversation between father and son further shows Orgon’s gullibility and foolishness. His wife is being put through advances from Tartuffe, yet he does not even believe his own son when he tries to tell him about the situation. Furthermore, his wife is not the only woman in Orgon’s life that must face his foolishness head on. His daughter, Mariane is in love with a commoner named Valere yet his father tries to force her to marry Tartuffe. Orgon does not realize this is a big mistake until after Tartuffe attempts to ruin him and the truth comes out. Once more, Orgon displays actions that speak gullibility and rashness, as he does not take the time to listen to what his daughter wants. However, the very last thing Orgon says is, “With wedded happiness reward Valere, / And crown a lover noble and sincere” (Moliere 5.8). Here you can see he has finally recognized how foolish he has been and really does a complete one-eighty. Moreover, Candide is also blinded by the woman in his life. Candide goes to extreme lengths to get to his love, Cunegonde. He even goes as far as murder in order to get back to her. He shockingly strikes and kills – so thought at the time – Cunegonde’s brother, the Baron, for the simple reason that he objected to his plant to marry Cunegonde. Just before striking the Baron, Candide shouts, “We shall see that, thou scoundrel!” (Voltaire 33). He is blinded by love, which brings out his rash foolishness. Candide starts to realize he has been foolish in what he thought was love when he realizes Cunegonde has turned ugly “With blood-shot eyes, withered neck, wrinkled cheeks, and rough, red arms…” (Voltaire 75). Candide starts to realize how foolish in love he was upon seeing his once beloved Cunegonde and as shown when he “Recoiled three paces, seized with horror, and then advanced out of good manners”(Voltaire 75). However, even after seeing the changed Cunegonde he tries to convince himself that he is marrying her for the right reasons; even though he is really now doing it just to push the buttons of her brother, the Baron – the same man that Candide thought he had killed. This misplaced motivation to marry Cunegonde can be seen when he states to the Baron, “I will not suffer such meanness on her part, and such insolence on yours…” (Voltaire 75). This hesitation shows that Candide’s consciousness of his folly is a much slower process than it is for Orgon. It is clear that the progressions of each of these characters in respect to their foolishness are very different, yet it is still very apparent that each of them have been very foolish, rash, and gullible at times.
In respect to wealth, Orgon and Candide, once more, display their foolishness in the utmost ways. Orgon is irrational and impulsive enough to sign over all of his estate to Tartuffe in a deed. After Orgon disowns his own son and begs Tartuffe to stay with him, Tartuffe, seeing Orgon’s current vulnerability, takes this golden opportunity to get Orgon’s complete trust, once more, and gets him to sign the deed. Orgon outcries to Tartuffe, “Poor man! We’ll go make haste to draw the deed aright, / And then let envy burst itself with spite!” (Moliere 3.7). He does not realize he has made a monumental mistake until Mr. Loyal – a court-bailiff – comes to tell Orgon he must vacate the house because it no longer belongs to him but to Tartuffe. When Tartuffe arrives at the door with an officer to arrest Orgon for the contents of his strongbox, Orgon cries, “Traitor! You saved this worse stroke for the last; / This crowns your perfidies, and ruins me” (Moliere 5.7). In between this poor lack of judgment of Tartuffe and the sudden realization he has when Tartuffe comes to claim his property and arrest him, there are numerous cases of other characters trying to get Orgon to open his eyes to the truth about Tartuffe. For example, Cleante pleads to Orgon, “Was such infatuation ever heard of? / And can a man to-day have charms to make you / Forget all else, relieve his poverty, / Give him a home, and then…?” (Moliere 1.6). To this Orgon replies fervently, “Stop there, good brother, / You do not know the man you’re speaking of” (Moliere 1.6). This is unlike the case of Candide. In regards to wealth, Candide is not only over trusting of a certain sailor, who promises to take him to Italy, but is outrageously duped by him when he more than willingly gives him all the money he asks for. The sailor ends up leaving him on shore and takes his red sheep and large amount money. At this point Candide is starting to see his foolishness when he shouts, “Alas! This is a trick worthy of the old world!” (Voltaire 46). Voltaire also paints the picture of the new and gloomy thoughts of Candide after he has been duped by the sailor with the quote, “The villainy of mankind presented itself before his imagination in all its deformity, and his mind was fill with gloomy ideas” (Voltaire 46). While in this instance Candide is realizing he was not wise in terms of his wealth and is not in the “best of all possible worlds” mood that Pangloss surely would hope for him to be in, the flip-flopping of Candide can be seen shortly after the he has been cheated by the sailor as he “Reflected upon what he had still left, and when he mentioned the name of Cunegonde, especially towards the latter end of a repast, he inclined to Pangloss’s doctrine” (Voltaire 47). This illuminates the idea that Candide is not consistent in realizing his foolishness and acts on impulse just as Orgon does. Once more, it is clear that both Orgon and Tartuffe make rash and foolish decisions, but nonetheless, their progressions of comprehending just how foolish they have been are not alike.
There is no doubt that both Voltaire’s Candide and Moliere’s Tartuffe are very foolish people at times, who make unwise decisions. Each of these characters acts out of rashness and gullibility; however, their progressions in respect to the realizations of their foolishness are vastly different. The gullible Orgon realizes just how foolish he has been all at once, without turning back, while Candide has an internal battle over time with flip-flopping back and forth. While this is a case of fool vs. fool, there is still a complexity that shines through each one of these characters, proving that foolishness in one is not all at once the same foolishness in another. 


Works Cited

Poquelin, Jean-Baptiste (Moliere). Tartuffe, or, The Imposter. Trans. Curtis Hidden Page. Produced by Dagny and John Vickers. January 2000. EBook #2027. Project Gutenberg. Web. 18 November 2012 .

Arouet, François-Marie (Voltaire). Candide. Produced by Chuck Greif. November 2006. EBook #19942. Project Gutenberg. Web. 18 November 2012 .

Posted by: Stacey Bigge at November 25, 2012 06:43 PM

Sarah Nobles
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
HON250 CA02 Humanistic Tradition
26 November 2012

Question: Ideas of evil in Tartuffe and Candide

Answer:
In both Tartuffe and Candide, the ideas of evil are explored. Using characters in the plays, they exemplify these evils and their follies. Three evils blatant throughout both plays are deceit and lying, hypocrisy, and foolishness. These three evils cause much of the turmoil and trouble in the plays. Both Voltaire and Molière display these themes prominently and constantly refer back to them.

Deceit and lying are extremely prominent themes in both Tartuffe and Candide. In Tartuffe, the play is centered around the lies and deceit of Tartuffe, a main character. Tartuffe enters Orgon’s home with everyone under the impression that he is a tutor when in reality, he is an actor living in Orgon’s home to aid him in the art of theater so that he can impress a local beauty. Orgon lies to his family, Tartuffe lies to Orgon, Elmire lies to Orgon, etc., and this only causes more trouble. The extent of the lies even forces others to lie in order to reveal the truth, such as Elmire when she states, “I’m going to act quite strangely, now, and you must not be shocked at anything I do. Whatever I may say, you must excuse as part of that deceit that I’m forced to use,” (Act IV, Scene IV, line 7). The lies eventually snowball into a cycle of deceit that only leads to sorrow and trouble with the law. In Candide, the lies aren’t to others, but rather characters lying to themselves, in contrast to Tartuffe. For example, any tragedy that occurs is brushed off by Pangloss (and to an extent Candide), as he simply justifies that they have reasons for happening, often saying that this is “the best of all possible worlds.” Even when Pangloss is infected with syphilis that tears away at him physically, he rationalizes his infliction with lies that his disease connects him with Christopher Columbus and if not for syphilis, we wouldn’t have chocolate or cochineal (obviously lying to himself in order to validate his illness). While in Tartuffe, the characters lie to each other, in Candide, the characters lie to themselves; though, both methods cause immense trouble for the parties involved. The authors in both plays illustrate how lying and being deceitful causes much harm.

Hypocrisy runs rampant in both stories, another idea of evil. In Tartuffe, Tartuffe himself is the biggest hypocrite of all. Seen as the most wicked of men, Tartuffe attempts to hide his own faults throughout the entire play, an example of hypocrisy. Dorine points this out, stating, “You see him as a saint. I’m far less awed; in fact, I see right through him. He’s a fraud,” (Act I, Scene I, Line 23). Later in the same scene, Dorine continues by defining hypocrisy, “By talking up their neighbour’s indiscretions they seek to camoflauge their own transgressions,” (Act I, Scene I, Line 31). They find Tartuffe’s actions to be hypocritical because he is supposed to be a holy man. Unlike Tartuffe, in Candide, the evil of hypocrisy is more directed towards religion as a whole, rather than the hypocrisy of a holy man (though hypocritical religion plays a role in both plays). In Candide, there are numerous hypocritical religious leaders, such as the women that claims to be the daughter of the Pope (a man who is supposed to remain celibate), the friar who is a jewel thief, and a possibly homosexual Jesuit superior that had an affair with the Baron’s son. Voltaire constantly satirizes religion and it’s hypocrisy throughout the play in many forms, indicating that it is an evil of the world as he shows how the hypocritical nature of these religious leaders only leads to turmoil and destruction (in the form of death, war, etc.).

The last idea of evil that is common in both plays is foolishness. Orgon himself is the biggest fool, being fooled by Tartuffe as he convinces Orgon to worship him and then he uses his position in the house for his own advantage. Dorine points out Orgon’s foolishness, saying, “But how a man like you, who looks so wise and wears a mustache of such splendid size can be so foolish. . .” (Act II, Scene II, Line 14). Orgon’s foolishness is what causes so much turmoil throughout the play; he’s too foolish to see through Tartuffe’s motives to whisk away his wife. In Candide, the foolishness comes in the form of blind optimism. Pangloss and Candide blindly go through life with the belief that everything is for the better and that this is the best of all possible worlds. By being such fools, they’re unable to fully see the world for what it is. Like in Tartuffe, the foolishness is a direct result of ignorance; the correlation says much to the demeanor of the characters and has much influence on the plays as a whole.

Though they are two very different plays, both Tartuffe and Candide contain nearly identical ideas of what evil is: deceit and lying, hypocrisy, and foolishness. These three evil themes, though diverse throughout both plays, cause the majority of the chaos and mayhem and referred continuously throughout the plays. It shows that during this humanistic period of civilization, the ideas of what is evil was generally universal.

Posted by: Sarah Nobles at November 26, 2012 12:09 AM

Rhett Pringle
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
HON250 CA02 Humanistic Tradition
25 November 2012

Question 5: Compare and contrast the “solutions” in Tartuffe and Candide (e.g. the king saving Orgon vs. the final Garden solution in Candide)

Answer:
The closure of a story is a critical part in the overall plot of a play. It provides a solution to the problems presented throughout the characters’ experiences. In Moliere’s Tartuffe and Voltaire’s Candide, the common ideas of self-awareness, acceptance, and the unexpected closure to both stories are vital to the resolution of the scenarios presented in both plays.
A common theme at the conclusion of both Candide and Tartuffe is the idea of self-realization and personal awareness. By the end of both stories, the main characters Orgon and Candide are able to see some of their personal flaws, the mistakes they have made throughout the story and what they have accomplished with their time and effort. Near the end of the story Orgon fully realizes that he has been deceived by Tartuffe, and comprehends the consequences of his trust to such a deceitful man. “Traitor! You saved this worst stroke for the last; This crowns your perfidies, and ruins me.” (pg. 77) Orgon is ruined until the king’s wisdom, mercy, and understanding save him from his fate. Orgon is ready to make amends for the foolish way he has been acting and forcing upon his family, so he makes plans to praise the king for his kindness, and to wed Valere and Mariane. “We’ll go, and at his feet kneel down, With joy to thank him for his goodness shown; And this first duty done, with honours due, We’ll then attend upon another, too. With wedded happiness reward Valere, And crown a lover noble and sincere.” (pg. 80) Candide comes to terms with himself when he realizes that money, relaxation, security, peace, and life with Cunegonde do not make him happy. After all his journeys and struggles, he is left to wonder what it all was worth. “Martin especially concluded that man was born to live either in a state of distracting inquietude or of lethargic disgust.” (Pg. 163, Ln. 6) Candide figures out that the life of farmer is more fulfilling to him that everything he had been previously been attempting to pursue, after hearing a farmer speak of how “our labour preserves us from three great evils—weariness, vice, and want” (pg. 166) He realizes that the man is better off than kings. They decided to focus on farming to fulfill their individual needs in life. “"Let us work," said Martin, "without disputing; it is the only way to render life tolerable."(pg. 167)
Another aspect of the “solutions” at the endings of the two stories is the acceptance by the characters of their fate and how they choose to let this affect how the story ends. Orgon and his family have no choice but to accept the fate that Tartuffe has planned for them after they expose him for the hypocrite he is. “You’re the one To leave it, you who play the master here! This house belongs to me, I’ll have you know, And show you plainly it’s no use to turn To these low tricks, to pick a quarrel with me, And that you can’t insult me at your pleasure, For I have wherewith to confound your lies, Avenge offended Heaven, and compel Those to repent who talk to me of leaving.” (pg. 65) Orgon has no control over the situation; he must accept that he has caused this to befall his family. The king offers a path of salvation to the predicament though his good will and power. He saves the family when they have been resigned to expulsion from their home and possessions. Acceptance is very similar in the story of Candide. After many years, Candide accepts that he cannot find anything that truly makes him happy, and that he cannot gain happiness through his own personal endeavors and worldly possessions. Candide realizes that he can fulfill his life through the simple task of development and cultivation of his garden. With hard work and dedication to a new ideal, he is able to focus on self-improvement through his garden. By dedicating himself to the garden, it shows how Candide has decided to give up on trying for other things in life, and chose work to pursue happiness. “The whole little society entered into this laudable design, according to their different abilities. Their little plot of land produced plentiful crops. Cunegonde was, indeed, very ugly, but she became an excellent pastry cook; Paquette worked at embroidery; the old woman looked after the linen. They were all, not excepting Friar Giroflée, of some service or other; for he made a good joiner, and became a very honest man.” (pg. 168) Common tasks offer reprieve and redemption from a life of suffering and sin.
A similarity between Candide and Tartuffe was the unexpected turn of events that halted the plot to conclude the story. Orgon did not suspect that Tartuffe was deceiving him, until it was too late. Orgon felt that Tartuffe was a good, honest, and religious man, and trusted him with many things; including marriage to his daughter, access to his home, and personal documents. Orgon was also not expecting the king to rescue him and arrest Tartuffe instead. The Officer announces to him, “You, sir (to Orgon), recover from your hot alarm. Our prince is not a friend to double dealing, His eyes can read men’s inmost hearts, and all The art of hypocrites cannot deceive him.” (pg. 79) This unexpected turn of events drastically changed the path the story was headed. Within Tartuffe, Orgon was not able to choose the outcome of the story, whereas in Voliere’s Candide, Candide chooses the life of a farmer, although it is still not an expected solution to the storyline. The ending of Candide is unexpected in the sense that after all of his struggles trying to find happiness, he ends up just settling down as a farmer. He spent so many years trying to find and rescue the love of his life, and provide for her, now he realizes she has grown ugly, and his money does not bring him happiness. The life of a farmer is an unexpected choice, but also very fitting, for it shows that he is independent, cultivating new life to gain satisfaction through work, and tangible success in his crops.
The answers to the difficulties offered throughout the characters’ experiences are directly correlated with the conclusion of both stories. In Moliere’s Tartuffe and Voltaire’s Candide, the similar ideas of personal awareness, acceptance of fate, and the unexpected conclusion to both stories are present throughout both literary works, and are necessary to the resolution of the situations existing in both stories.

Works Cited:
The Project Gutenberg EBook of Candide, by Voltaire

Formatting 2009 by Royalty Free Plays
Tartuffe (or The Hypocrite)
by Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Moliere

Posted by: M. Rhett Pringle at November 26, 2012 01:39 AM

William Berry
Dr. Hobbs
Hon 250 Humanistic Traditions
23, November, 2012

Religion of Tartuffe vs. Panglossian philosophy

This comparison/contrast is between Le Tartuffe by Moliere, and Voltaire’s Candide. Both works were written by Frenchmen, the first a play write and comical actor, while Voltaire was of a higher class and was as a result more educated adding more subtleness and wittiness to his creation. Both authors addressed issues related to religion in their works, how its purity and the faithfulness was challenged, its role in society/to the main character, and the struggles of religion/conflict around the main characters. Being that they addressed these same issues, there are bound to be similarities, yet there are some drastic differences.

The purity of religion to the two main characters was different; Voltaire’s Candide was ignorant youth who had not seen much of the world before his journey, while Moliere’s Tartuffe passed himself off as a holy man was anything but one. Throughout his journey, Candide holds on to his naivety, Pangloss instilled in him that this is the possible world, for if it was not why god put them there. Even in the darkest times, Candide attempted to cling to this philosophy, instances of this is when he finds his former master (Voltaire Ch4 pg 7). Candide believes that the woman he loved is dead, all those he cherished dead, and his beloved master deformed, yet still claims that this is the best world. As he journey continues he sees the brutal death of his master (Voltaire Ch6 pg 12), an example of the extremes of religious conflict; the grandeur of El Dorado a place of religious freedom (Voltaire Ch17 pg33). All of these obstacles make it clear that Candide is the journey of a man whose religious concepts are slowly stripped away and rebuilt. While in Tartuffe, Mr. Tartuffe is the guest of Orgon, there is no great journey neither physical or philosophically. Mr. Tartuffe defaces the ideals of holiness, tarnishes its appearance, and lives up to the meaning of his name, hypocrite. He portrays himself as a “holy” man by calling out “sins” such as, who ogles Orgons wife (Moliere pg8), having anger in killing a flea during prayer (Moliere pg8). Yet the entire time there is an adulterous relationship between Elmire and Tartuffe, making the “holy” man not so holy. A similarity in this aspect; both main characters have at least one person who has faith in them. Candide has Cacambo in most of his greatest struggles to help him when challenged. In Tartuffe, Tartuffe has the faith of Orgon, at least at first, and Orgon’s mother Madame Pernelle, who leaves the house of Orgon for how the rest of the house hold treats Tartuffe (Moliere pg2-5).

Another point to be made is the roles of religion in society and how effects the main character. In Candide, Candide finds himself questioning what is right when he is faced with all of these different opinions and actions. The first time he questioned was when he was drafted into the Bulgarian military, he had no freedom and for trying to leave was beaten severely (Voltaire Ch3 pg4-5). Later was the death of his master (Voltaire Ch6 pg12), then finding his love, Candide killing three men, being separated from his love, seeing great grandeur, and seeing great hardship. Candide and Tartuffe both have examples of the misuse of religious power. In Candide’s journey, it leads to warring factions and large death tolls. While in Tartuffe, religions role was not very powerful, it was perceived as a tool, not an object of faith that must be found at all costs, but a power and influence to be used. Tartuffe uses his closeness with Orgon, and the reputation he had built himself to have Orgon to gift him the estate in which Orgon lived (Moliere pg 41-46). This is an example of how religion was used by Tartuffe for his on desires or advancement.

Lastly are the struggles of religion and the conflicts faced. Candide exemplifies this by having Candide travel from a war zone in Paraguay, to the peaceful city of El Dorado. This stark difference between is night and day, the difference between chaos and harmony, shows that peace can be obtained but there was no organized religion. Making it show that it is not beliefs that cause the conflict but the fact the large groups gather creating a faction that wishes to impose its rule upon others, making a “rebellion” that leads to death destruction with nothing to show for it, for there is no true victor. While Tartuffe focuses solely on the misuse and deception related to the power of religion, the true example of this is once again Tartuffe’s attempt to take Orgon’s estate. Moliere was making fun of high society and the schemes within schemes that took place, there was no fight were blood was spilt, instead a battle of wits with the spoils to the victor. With this religious struggle whether physical or mental, Candide and Tartuffe both seek solace in a woman, for the emotional support and desire to beloved.

There are many things that Voltaire’s Candide and Moliere’s Tartuffe differed on and had in common. The main focal points were how the purity of religion was challenged, religion’s roles in society and to the main character, and the struggles and conflict of religion. These outlined how an ignorant youth lost his faith, and how a hypocrite misused a man’s faith for his own needs.

Works Cited
Moliere. Tartuffe. Dagny and John Vickers, 2000. eBook.
Voltaire. Candide. http://manybooks.net/, n.d. eBook.

Posted by: William Berry at November 26, 2012 07:08 AM

Jordan Bailey
Dr. Hobbs
Hon250 CA02 Humanistic Tradition
26 November 2012
The Role of Women
Throughout time, women have played many different roles in society and in the home. The roles of women can be seen evolving through all of history, especially depicted in literature. In Moliere’s Tartuffe and Voltaire’s Candide, the roles of women that are depicted are somewhat similar, but at the same time present very contrasting characters. The women presented in these pieces of work are fundamental to each story in their own way. Some of the women are fundamental characters that inspire all the action in the play, and others are sort of like pawns that allow these actions to be able to take place. In both works, there are few female characters that are introduced that include a daughter, a maid, and an older wiser woman. Although both of these works have these same roles of women in them, the women could not be more different from each other in importance and spirit.
In both Moliere’s Tartuffe and Voltaire’s Candide, a daughter character is introduced. In Tartuffe, the daughter’s name is Mariane. In Candide, the daughter’s name is Cunegonde. Mariane, in Tartuffe, is the typical 17th century obedient daughter who cannot imagine, or figure out how to, disobey her father. When he wants her to marry Tartuffe, she is unable to voice her real opinion for fear of hurting her father. She is not outspoken, nor does she stand up for herself of what she thinks is right. In Act 2 Scene 3, she states forthright, “What can I do? My father is the master.” Cunegonde, in Candide, is the daughter of the Baron with whom Candide resided with at the opening of the play. Cunegonde kisses Candide and is the reason he is thrown out of the house. Her character is not very outspoken throughout the play but later on she does get married to Candide after he kills her two lovers. Both daughters are essential to the plots of these stories because without them there would be no motives for the action in the play. In Candide, the action is because Candide is trying to find Cunegonde because he wants to marry her. In Tartuffe, the action happens because her father wants her to marry Tartuffe and she does not wants to so she devises a plan with a few other people to stop this from happening. The daughters’ roles in this play spark the motion, but they are not exactly key characters themselves, they act as more pawns between other characters in the play.
Each of these works, Tartuffe and Candide, employ the character of a maid within the story. The maid in Candide is called Paquette, however she is not a consequential part of the play other than that she is the maid and she has syphilis, which she gave to Pangloss. The maid, in Tartuffe however, named Dorine, could not be more different than Paquette. Dorine is a robust character who gets the plot rolling throughout the entire play, and she is the one who causes the action in the play, even very early on. In scenes 2 and 3 of the first act, Dorine points out how Tartuffe has clearly deceived Orgon and he is not the pious man that he claims to be when she says, “The fellow knows his dupe, and makes the most on’t, He fools him with a hundred masks of virtue.” Her words during this speech foreshadow the events that take place in which Tartuffe really tries to take advantage of his position. The maid Dorine in this story could be described as strongly opinionated, practical and realistic, as well as productive in setting plans into motion. In Candide, Paquette is still inconsequential to the play and does not reappear until the end when she reunites with Pangloss to live in Candide’s group of gardeners. She does not carry a loud role in the play, unlike Dorine. Dorine is a very confident, self-assured character but her actions are quite audacious in many of the things she does. For example, in Act 2 Scenes 1 and 2, Dorine laughs right in Orgon’s face when he tells her that the rumor about the marriage between Mariane and Tartuffe is actually going to happen. It would have been very unusual for a servant to explicitly laugh at her Master right in front of his face, but Dorine does just that. She is a very strong character and she makes that known throughout the play. In Act 2 Scenes 3 and 4, she proposes to take action to stop the wedding. While both stories employ the use of a maid in their stories to help move the plot along, the actual characters could not be more different.
Finally, both stories have older female characters in them. In Candide, this character is namely just the old woman. The older women in Tartuffe are Madame Pernell who is Orgon’s mother, and Elmire who is his wife. In Chapters 7 and 8 of Voltaire’s Candide, we meet the old woman who takes care of Candide by cleaning, clothing, and feeding him. She begins to tell him about all of the hardships she has faced throughout her life, and in doing this we see that during the time women were not treated very well, they were a disposable piece of the households. Elmire and Madame Pernell, as well as the old woman, are anything but dispensable however. Elmire plays the role of the dutiful, faithful housewife who does not wish to disturb her husband. She is also, however, the other character who creates action in the play and moves the story along. Madame Pernell is a loud, boisterous and domineering character who is blinded by the falseness of Tartuffe but refuses to use any common sense or reason to comprehend that he is a false person. She appears at the beginning and the end of the play and she creates tension between herself and the other characters because she will not listen to them when they try to speak ill of Tartuffe in order to warn their family, but she will not have it. Elmire understand the true nature of Tartuffe and her and Dorine concoct a plan to expose Taruffe. Elmire is sneaky and throughout the story she hides her brother and Orgon (separately) while she speaks with Tartuffe and he confesses his love for her both times and he speaks ill of Orgon and that is how Tartuffe is finally discovered. If Elmire would not have done this, Orgon would have continued to be duped by Tartuffe, so for this Elmire is an extremely crucial character. The old woman in Candide is also very important, not only does she tell her story but she acts as kind of a protective figure when she clothes and feeds him, but she is also a guide when she leads him to Cunegonde. She shows much strength, not only as a woman in this story, but as any person who has gone through the hardships she had to endure. It speaks to the nature of the strong hearted, who never let anything keep them down when things are hard.
While the roles of women in these stories may not present the traditional roles of women throughout time, they do present their own uniqueness which makes these stories stand out. Not every woman mentioned in Moliere’s Tartuffe or Voltaire’s Candide were the main protagonists of the play, but some of them were a large part of the story without which, the plot could not have unraveled the way that it was supposed to. While each of these works included a daughter, a maid, and older women in the stories, the individual characters differed greatly between the stories. But, although these women were different, they did share some things that proved to be key elements to the stories and the women proved to be an important part of these plots.

Posted by: Jordan Bailey at November 26, 2012 11:51 AM

Zach Brasseur
Dr. Lee Hobbs
Hon 250
26 November 2012

Comparing Reasonable Characters in Tartuffe and Candide

Candide, the novella by the Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire and the play Tartuffe by Humanist playwright Molière are both stories in which the overriding theme is reason versus emotion. In Tartuffe the primary voice of reason is Orgon’s brother-in-law Cléante who throughout the play tries to convince Orgon that Tartuffe is a hypocrite and not someone to be trusted. He also represents a “middle way”, a balance between reason and emotion. But Candide on the other hand has few truly reasonable characters. Some are more reasonable than others, such as the old woman, Cacambo, and Martin, but they each have distinct characteristics that make them less powerful voices of reason than Cléante, especially since there is a lack of a middle way. Together, these three characters act as a balance to Candide’s overly optimistic philosophy much in the same Cléante acts as a balance by himself for the other characters in Tartuffe.

The old woman who saves Candide from the Inquisitors is a wise person who guides Candide and Cunégonde and gives them advice for their journeys. The reader hears her story when Cunégonde is complaining about how terrible her life is and the old woman explains how much worse her life could be. She tells them “I’ve had experience, I’ve seen the world” (39); as much education as Candide and Cunégonde have had, there are some things that can only be learned through experience. She is by far the most reasonable and most wise character in the entire story. However, she comes across as all-knowing, when really she only knows what she has experienced. Cléante is much more humble when he says “I don’t pretend to be a sage/Nor have I all the wisdom of the age” (I. v. pg. 28). He acknowledges that he does not have all the answers but knows truth when he sees it.

An almost-reasonable character that plays an important role in Candide is Cacambo, Candide’s valet and companion. He has an optimistic worldview, but unlike his master he has actually seen and experienced new and unfamiliar things. He is similar to Orgon in Tartuffe in that he is somewhat gullible, easily impressed by the Jesuits of whom he says he has “never seen as close to God” (44) despite their exploitation of native peoples and so forth. He is very open minded as evidenced by his reaction to the two girls’ relationships with the monkeys in Paraguay and he is called “sensible Cacambo” (125) at the end of the novella. The big difference between Cacambo and Cléante however is Cléante’s ability to spot hypocrisy. While Cacambo is in love with the Jesuits despite their failure to live up to Gospel ideals, Cléante despises Tartuffe’s false piety and all “calculating souls who offer prayers/Not to their Maker, but as public wares” (I. v. pg. 28). Cacambo is duped by the Jesuits and allows emotion to overtake reason, but Cléante who is somewhat religious, sees through the lies and finds the balance between reason and emotion.

Martin is the pessimistic foil to Candide’s optimism. In his opinion there is little to no good in the world. Like the old woman and Cacambo he has travelled and seen the world but rather than leaving a positive impression on him, he now believes that “nothing seems extraordinary” (79); he has become cynical, apathetic, and bored. For Martin, there is no emotion, only reason and the inability to see anything good. He also believes that humans are incapable of change, noting that “hawks have always stayed the same” (80), therefore it is unlikely that man will change his violent ways. This is very different from Cléante’s worldview. He admires those faithful and pious who practice their faith for righteous reasons and whose only desire is to “lead a good life” and “show, by deeds, how Christians should behave” (I. v. pg. 29). Cléante does not share Martin’s belief that man is irreparably corrupt.

There is a great deal of conflict between emotion and reason in both stories. Ultimately the primary voice of reason in Tartuffe is by far more reasonable than any of the “reasonable” characters in Candide. The old woman is experienced and offers sound advice but can’t see anything other than her own experiences. Cacambo has also travelled and seen many things but is somewhat naïve and allows himself to be duped by the Jesuits. Martin is too extreme on the pessimistic side to be considered reasonable. But, all three characters are important for the development of Candide’s character and philosophy and help him to see things from a different point of view that he would not have seen from Pangloss. In the same way Cléante helps Orgon and eventually Madame Pernelle see Tartuffe for the scoundrel he really is.

Posted by: Zach Brasseur at November 26, 2012 11:57 AM

Rhett Pringle
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
HON250 Humanistic Tradition CA02
7 December 2012

The Ideas of Evil in Faust and Tartuffe

The concept of evil has existed as long as man has been able to question human action. The idea of two opposing forces of supernatural power has shaped many aspects of society. Goethe’s Faust and Moliere’s Tartuffe both focus in on the ideas of deception and evil within a society that is based on Christian teachings, opposed to sin and temptation. The idea of evil is present, however, through the representation of key controlling characters in both stories, internal conflicts within and against major characters, and the concept of evil in humanistic perspective.
In Moliere’s Tartuffe, the character of Tartuffe represents many aspects of the ideas of evil or “sin.” He is an imposter, a liar, a betrayer, and a false priest. He embodies the idea of evil in the sense that he has no righteous intentions and seeks to gain everything for himself with no concern for others. Throughout the story, Tartuffe works hard to keep Orgon from discovering the truth about him, so he can manipulate him to his own advantage. This is a recurring theme in both Tartuffe and Faust. The idea of Tartuffe’s influence and his control over Orgon was evident almost immediately in the story; when Dorine speaks to him of how his family was suffering during his absence, he only has concern for Tartuffe. He tells his brother in law Cleante: “He is a man ... who ... ah! ... in fact ...a man Whoever does his will, knows perfect peace, And counts the whole world else, as so much dung. His converse has transformed me quite; he weans My heart from every friendship, teaches me To have no love for anything on earth; And I could see my brother, children, mother, And wife, all die, and never care--a snap.” (pg. 13) Orgon has so much trust in Tartuffe that he wishes to give him his daughter Mariane’s hand in marriage. Nevertheless, Tartuffe does not deserve this devotion or respect; he is not the holy man he claims to be. He attempts to seduce Orgon’s wife while Orgon is hidden: “Though pious, I am none the less a man; And when a man beholds your heavenly charms, The heart surrenders, and can think no more.” (pg. 45) After he is discovered, he openly tries to take all of the family’s possessions. “The house is now, as you well know, of course, Mr. Tartuffe’s. And he, beyond dispute, Of all your goods is henceforth lord and master” (pg. 73) Tartuffe negatively influenced Orgon’s decisions, and used his power to place himself in a position of authority within the household and society. This is very similar to the character of Mephistopheles.
In Faust, Goethe creates the character of a demon that represents evil against humanity. Mephistopheles despises the world and challenges God. “What will you bet? There's still a chance to gain him, If unto me full leave you give, Gently upon my road to train him!” (Prologue) He is also a swindler and manipulates Faust so he can win his soul over from God. Many of Mephistopheles’ actions throughout the story are deliberate attempts to keep Faust from recognizing the truth. He personifies Faust’s discontent with the world he lives in, and he often manipulates Faust’s desires to coerce him to greater sin. “Thou'lt find, this drink thy blood compelling, Each woman beautiful as Helen!” (Scene 6) Goethe presents a character comparatively similar to Tartuffe though, the relationship between Mephistopheles and Faust differs radically. Faust begins to suspect Mephistopheles’ true intentions during the play, whereas in Tartuffe, he confesses his true nature to the family. Had Faust been able to witness the prologue in Heaven between the angles, God, and Mephistopheles, he would have recognized what the demon was planning for him.
For most of Tartuffe, Orgon does not suspect that his friend could be so deceiving and manipulative. Orgon has internal conflict with himself, for he is torn between believing his wife and family or his friend and faithful advisor Tartuffe. “I know your motives For this attack. You hate him, all of you; Wife, children, servants, all let loose upon him,You have recourse to every shameful trick To drive this godly man out of my house” (pg. 50) However, once he discovers that Tartuffe is desperately in love with his wife, he confronts him and orders him to leave immediately. “You leave my house this instant.” (pg. 65) Once Orgon kicks out Tartuffe, he is able to see clearly and recognize his mistakes, and realizes what Tartuffe was trying to do to him. “Strange things indeed, for my own eyes to witness; You see how I’m requited for my kindness… He dares to menace me with my own favours, And would make use of those advantages Which my too foolish kindness armed him with, To ruin me, to take my fortune from me, And leave me in the state I saved him from.” (pg. 69) Orgon’s internal struggle abruptly comes to a halt, as he does not hesitate to break whatever bonds once held him and Tartuffe close and remove him from his family’s life.
Faust constantly struggles throughout the story between agreeing with his conscience and with what Mephistopheles tells him to do. Because of Margaret’s innocence and her love for him, his lust develops into love for her, and he struggles with his personal integrity over which is right. Mephistopheles provides the voice of doubt for Faust, convincing him that his lust is what he yearns for most. The duality of good and evil within Faust create such a struggle within him; he does not know what to do with himself. He is torn between the idyllic way of life represented by Margaret, and fulfillment of all his desires by the devil. “Within my breast he fans a lawless fire, Unwearied, for that fair and lovely form: Thus in desire I hasten to enjoyment, And in enjoyment pine to feel desire.” (Scene 14) He eventually gives in to his temptations and decides to stop thinking about the issue, and finds reprieve with Gretchen. “I, God's hate flung o'er me… She and her peace I yet must undermine: Thou, Hell, hast claimed this sacrifice as thine! Help, Devil! through the coming pangs to push me; What must be, let it quickly be! Let fall on me her fate, and also crush me, — One ruin whelm both her and me!” (Scene 14) Faust decides that he will bring Gretchen down with him; he wants to give into his lust and forget about the rest.
Within Humanistic beliefs, the idea of “evil” as a supernatural force caused by devils or demons is quite lucrative. Man has complete control over his own destiny, judgment, and actions. To say that a character or person performed an inappropriate act because they are “evil” does not appropriately define the deed or the person, erroneously placing the blame on some sort of hypothetical or mythical source. If there is any “evil,” it is the result of human action of inaction alone, not an external force. Tartuffe is called evil because he attempts to bite the hand that feeds him. He shows nothing but greed, and has no limitations on how heartless he can be. However, is he an evil person or simply a man filled with gluttony, insatiability, and uncontrollable self-indulgence? His actions are what are classified as wrong; to say a person is evil would even contradict common Christian thought towards others.
Mephistopheles is an entirely different matter however. As a devil, his character is meant to embody the unwanted characteristics and traits of good and moral people. However, these qualities are exactly what are needed for him to fill his role as a villain. Humanism does not prove the existence of such demons or devils, but they do not deny the use of an ultimate evil for literary purposes. Mephistopheles becomes an example of the idea that the concept of pure evil is inconsistent. The fact that Mephistopheles does not appear as an ugly black monster with glowing eyes shows that evil is not a limited concept, it can be changed and altered to suit many different purposes. To Goethe's understanding, evil operates within the confines of human desires and needs, not the result of an external power. Humans create evil as a scapegoat, the cover-up from wanting too much of something, or mistaking wants for needs. It is misunderstanding the own basis of our lives, but this means it is also internally conquerable. Divine assistance is not required or needed in the world of Faust.
The concept of evil exists in every facet of life. It is a constant factor in human reality, and a major influence on decisions and behaviors. In Moliere’s Tartuffe and Goethe’s Faust, these themes are present through the depiction of significant characters in both stories, inner struggles within and against main characters, and the notion of evil itself as it fits into Humanistic ideals. These different depictions of sin drive both stories, and create sources of conflict necessary to comprehend the significance of the work. Without Evil, would there really be any good?

Works Cited

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang Von. Faust. Trans. Bayard Taylor.
Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Chuck Greif and the PG Online Distributed Proofreading Team. January 2005. Project Gutenberg. Web. 6 December 2012
A scholar Faust sells his soul to the devil Mephistopheles in exchange for knowledge and worldly satisfaction. This work has many instances of evil throughout, as the devil Mephistopheles is a significant and controlling character and provides many examples of evil deed and thought. Faust himself is a prime example of internal conflict between good and evil.

Poquelin, Jean-Baptiste (Moliere). Tartuffe, or, The Imposter. Trans. Curtis Hidden Page.
Produced by Dagny and John Vickers. January 2000. EBook #2027. Project Gutenberg. Web. 6 December 2012 . A 17th century drama depicting a family man, Orgon, who is deceived by a pseudo holy man, Tartuffe. I will use the many instances of the idea of evil in the play, created by and within the character of Tartuffe, to support my ideas. This will be an excellent example for depicting the many aspects of “sin,” and its effects on a family.

Posted by: M. Rhett Pringle at December 7, 2012 10:49 AM

Anna McEntee
Dr. Hobbs
HON250 CA02 The Humanistic Tradition
3 December 2012
Trickery in Faust and Tartuffe
In the two literary works, Faust by Goethe and Tartuffe by Molière, trickery is a main plot device, used by the antagonist of the story to get what he wants. The ways in which trickery is utilized in the two works are similar in a number of ways, but do in fact differ, on some accounts. For example, the methods of trickery used are somewhat opposite of each other, Tartuffe using redemption to get what he wants, while Mephisto uses temptation. However, the two works are similar in that, in both, the antagonist uses a disguise of some sorts to trick the protagonist into doing his bidding. Another similarity between the two is the failure of trickery. In both cases, the trickery of the antagonists, Tartuffe and Mephisto, fail and the protagonists, Orgon and Faust, come out winning in the end.
The main difference between the trickery used in Tartuffe and Faust, is the logic behind the hoax. While in Tartuffe, Tartuffe uses the guilt of sin to “redeem” Orgon and get him to do his bidding, in Faust, the devil, or Mephisto, tries to tempt Faust into sinning and proving God wrong. “Part of that Power, not understood, which always wills the Bad, and always works the Good” (Goethe, lines 1336-1337). Mephisto, in Scene III of the poem, tries to get Faust to use the powers of evil to create good on Earth, manipulating his words to make it seem like it is all for the good, while really he is just trying to win his bet and get Faust to turn to the dark side. Tartuffe does the opposite in his trickery by making himself and sin the enemy. “Yes, brother, I am wicked, I am guilty, a miserable sinner, steeped in evil, the greatest criminal that ever lived… Believe their stories, arm your wrath against me, and drive me like a villain from your house; I cannot have so great a share of shame but what I have deserved a greater still” (Molière, Act III Scene VI). Tartuffe uses modesty and hypocrisy to manipulate Orgon into doing the opposite of whatever he says. By being a “humble servant of the Lord,” Tartuffe is seen by Orgon as a pious man, worthy of everything life has to give him. However, even though the two works differ in this respect, they are, in fact, still similar in many ways concerning the use of trickery.
One of the ways in which the two works are alike in their use of trickery is that in both cases, the antagonist uses a disguise of some sorts to trick Faust and Orgon. In the case of Tartuffe, Tartuffe uses the disguise of a pious servant of God, humble and holy. “Brother, in God's name, don't be angry with him! I'd rather bear myself the bitterest torture than have him get a scratch on my account” (Molière, Act III Scene VI). It is in this guise that earns Tartuffe the trust from Orgon that he needs to get what he wants. In the case of Faust, trickery is used by Mephisto as he takes on the guise of a scholar in order to gain Faust’s trust and tempt him. “This was the poodle's real core,a travelling scholar, then? The casus is diverting” (Goethe, Scene III, lines 1333-1334). This does not wholly trick Faust, but it does ease his mind more than the black poodle that was following him around did. Other than this use of a guise, another similarity between the two works is the imminent failure of the trickery.
In the end of both works, the antagonist fails and truth wins out. The trickery of Mephisto and Tartuffe comes to an end, despite their hard efforts to deceive their targets. In Tartuffe, Orgon wins out in the end when he catches Tartuffe in his trickery by hiding under a table when Tartuffe comes onto his wife. “I doubted long enough if this was earnest, expecting all the time the tone would change; but now the proof's been carried far enough; I'm satisfied, and ask no more, for my part” (Molière, Act IV Scene VII). In Faust’s case, he beats the devil in the end by resisting temptation and continuing to strive for good. He at last is admitted into heaven, having avoided temptation for so long. “Pure incandescence! Whom its flames bless, blissful with goodness, is their existence. Gathered together, rise now, and praise! Spirit can breathe here, in purer waves!” (Goethe, Act V Scene VII Lines 11817-11824).
Though there are some differences between the two works of literature in the use of trickery, the similarities between the two hints at the time frame that the works were written in. The use of trickery as evil and sin also hints at the humanistic ideas in the minds of the two writers.
Works Cited
von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang. Faust. Der Tragödie erster Teil [Faust: The First Part of the Tragedy]. (written 1772-75) 1790. Drama. German. Goethe’s Faust is a work of literature written in the 18th century in Germany. The plot focuses on Faust, a devout Christian, but also an alchemist, who is consistently tempted by the Devil to turn to evil to fix the problems in the world. The Devil uses trickery in many different ways to tempt Faust, but loses out in the end. This source is helpful to the paper because it has direct quotes that explain the use of trickery in the story directly illustrates the similarities and differences between itself and the other cited work.
Poquelin, Jean-Baptiste (Molière). Tartuffe, or, The Imposter. 1664. French. Drama. This work is a comedy about a hypocrite that has fooled the protagonist of the story, Orgon, into giving him whatever he wants. This source is helpful to the paper in that is provides direct resources and quotes that aid in the explanation of the use of trickery in the novel, compared and contrasted with the other cited work, Faust.

Posted by: Anna McEntee at December 7, 2012 02:23 PM

Shayvonne “Shay” Renaud
Dr. Hobbs
HON 250 CA02 Humanistic Traditions

Tartuffe, The Imposter

1. Q: Why is Madame Pernelle leaving the household? Explain. Use quotes from the passages of the text to support your answer.

A: Madame Pernelle is leaving the household because she is disgusted by her family’s behavior and character. Madame Pernelle has some form of strife with nearly everyone in the household; ranging from living too extravagantly, or living a life that offends the decent. “Because I can't endure your carryings-on, and no one takes the slightest pains to please me. I leave your house, I tell you, quite disgusted; you do the opposite of my instructions; you’ve no respect for anything; each one Must have his say; it's perfect pandemonium” (Tartuffe, The Imposter Act 1.Scene 1).

Posted by: Shayvonne "Shay" Renaud at October 22, 2013 10:46 PM

Dafne Jacobs
Dr. Hobbs
HON 250 The Humanistic Tradition
23 October 2013

Question: At what point does the reader or audience realize that Orgon is behaving strangely? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text to support your answer.

Answer: As soon as Orgon comes into the play, in Act I Scene V, he begins to ask about Tartuffe. He is asking Dorine about his family, and she tries to tell him that his wife Madam Pernelle is sick. She says that Madam had “a fever, and a splitting headache,” yet Orgon does not seem to worry about it. He is only interested in Tartuffe and although Dorine reports that he is doing well, eating well and sleeping well, he keeps calling him a “poor man” (I.V). He completely disregards everything that Dorine says about Madame and is only concerned with Tartuffe.

Posted by: Dafne Jacobs at October 23, 2013 01:18 PM

Allison Sheftall
HON 250 Humanistic Tradition CA02
Dr. Hobbs
23 October 2013

Question: According to Orgon, why should Mariane obey him? Explain. Use quotes passages from the text to support your answer.

Answer: Orgon believes that Mariane should obey him because he is her father and he knows whats best for her. Orgon says it himself while speaking to Dorine about the matter of Mariane marrying Tartuffe. Orgon states "I am your father; I know what's best for you" (Act 2, scene 2). Orgon wants Mariane to marry Tartuffe, but both her and her mother think it is a bad idea. While Orgon and Mariane are speaking in the closet Orgon tells Mariane to say that she would love to be married to Tartuffe. Mariane retialates by asking questions and saying that it isn't true, She doesn't love him or want to marry him at all. Orgon's only reasoning as to why Mariane should obey these orders is because Orgon is her father.

Posted by: Allison Sheftall at October 23, 2013 02:58 PM

Glen Pringle
HON250
10/23/13
Dr. Hobbs

Q: Does Mariane defend herself well? Does she have help? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text to support your answer.

A: Mariane manages to defend herself well against Orgon despite some difficulty in their initial talk. Their private conversation is interrupted by Dorine, who swoops to the aid of Mariane immediately. The former tells Orgon that Mariane should marry whom she loves, and not listen to her father “Don’t mind the games that your father plays with you: just jokes.” (II.II.66)

Posted by: Glen Pringle at October 23, 2013 03:14 PM

Jacob Gates
Dr. Hobbs
HON 250 CA02 The Humanistic Tradition
23 October 2013

Question: “What does Dorine predict will occur if Mariane is forced to wed Tartuffe? Explain. Use quoted passages from the text to support your answer.”

Answer: Dorine predicts that Mariane will have her heart broken and be humiliated by Tartuffe, as seen in Act 2, scene 5, line 550, “I heart bears too much pride to see you ridiculed on every side.”

Posted by: Jacob Gates at October 23, 2013 03:21 PM

Shayvonne “Shay” Renaud
Dr. Hobbs
HON 250 Ca02 Humanistic Traditions
23 October 2013


6. Q: characterize Cleante; remember the 2D characters of Commedia Dell’Arte? Who or what does this character symbolize? Did any characters develop or undergo a transformation during the course of the play? Who? How? Why?

A: Cleante represents the “Voice of reason” in the play. Cleante is the intellectual who sees through the hoax that Tartuffe is putting on. Throughout the play, Cleante desperately attempts to shake reason into his naïve and gullible brother in law Orgon. “Brother, I don’t pretend to be a sage, nor have I all the wisdom of the age. There’s just one insight I would dare to claim: I know that true and false are not the same” (1.5.9-11). Cleante displays the “proper” practice of Christianity; he acknowledges that Tartuffe is an impostor and hypocrite, however at the end of the play, Cleante convinces Orgon not to hold contempt in his heart for Tartuffe, rather to forgive him in the hopes that he learns true piety. Orgon undergoes a transformation during the course of the play. He slowly becomes aware of Tartuffe’s true nature and becomes enraged, rather than the typical character of the fool.

Posted by: Shayvonne "Shay" Renaud at October 27, 2013 10:17 PM

Jennifer Doyle
Dr. Hobbs
HON250 The Humanistic Tradition CA02
28 October 2013

Question: Characterize Orgon. Remember the
2D characters of Commedia dell arte? Who or what does this character symbolize?

Answer: Orgon represents the classic fool in literature. He is ignorant, idiotic, cowardly, etc.. But, the one positive trait that he holds is loyalty. He may be extremely stupid for believing Tartuffe's lies, but he would never betray his "friend". While criticizing Madame Pernelle, Dorine says, "Yes, but her son is even worse deceived; his folly must be seen to be believed. He has quite lost his senses since he fell beneath Tartuffe's infatuating spell" (Moliere 7). The worst part about Orgon is his lack of trust in his family members when they try to convince him of Tartuffe's deceit. He doesn't take anything they say into consideration, nor does he even try to question Tartuffe. He is just a stupid man, to say the least.

Posted by: Jennifer Doyle at October 28, 2013 12:51 PM

Dafne Jacobs
Dr. Hobbs
HON 250 The HumanisticTradition
28 October 2013

Question: Characterize Madame Pernelle. Remember the 2-D characters of Comedia dell'arte? Who or what does this character symbolize?

Answer: Madame Pernelle symbolizes the attitude and ideas of the Dark Ages. She is Orgon's mother, which suggests that she thinks in an old way, and the newer, more revolutionary concepts will be unacceptable to her. She is very closed minded and puts religion as well as social class before anything else. As soon as she enters Orgon's house she begins to criticize everyone except for Tartuffe, who is praised for his religious dedication, whether or not it is fake. She tells everyone they should follow Tartuffe and makes the same assumption that was made during the dark ages that anything related to religion is better than logic.

Posted by: Dafne Jacobs at October 28, 2013 02:02 PM

Joe Radigan
Dr. Hobbs
Honors 250 Humanistic Tradition CA02
27 October 2013

Question: Characterize Damis. Remember the 2-D Characters of Commedia dell'arte?

Answer: Damis is a very hot headed character. He uses every opturnity that he has in order to pick a fight with Tartuffe. This also causes problems between other characters in the play. Damis allows his anger to get the best of him and this causes many problems for him.

Posted by: Joe Radigan at October 28, 2013 02:40 PM

Allison Sheftall
HON-250 Humanistic Tradition CA02
Dr. Hobbs
28 September 2013

Question:What is gained by having Tartuffe appear for the first time in the third act?

Answer: Having Tartuffe first appear in the third act give lets the reader create their own opinion on Tartuffe, they have been learning about him for two acts so once he finally appears the reader has all this background on him. Although this background is what other people say about him, once Tartuffe appears he proves the things said about him are true. When he first arrives he tries to seduce Cleante although he is supposed to marry her daughter. He is two faced just like everyone had been saying only Orgon hadn’t been listening to.

Posted by: Allison Sheftall at October 28, 2013 03:03 PM

Glen Pringle

HON250

10/28/13

Dr. Hobbes

Tartuffe is the titular character of the play, although though he is not the protagonist-he is revealed as the antagonist over the course of it. Tartuffe takes away the money of Orgon, throws him under the bus in front of the King, and pretends to be some sort of religious figure. If he was to be viewed as Commedia dell'arte character, he would fall under the classification of Brighella, as both are con men and only seek to gain money for their own ends.

Posted by: Glen Pringle at October 28, 2013 03:17 PM

Jacob Gates
Dr. Hobbs
HON 250 CA02 The Humanistic Tradition
28 October 2013

Question: “*Characterize Valère (see Handout on what it means “to characterize”) Remember The 2--‐D Characters of Commedia dell’arte?
Who Or what does this character symbolize?
**Although Friedrich Nietzsche had not yet been born, the concept of “will to power” [achievement, ambition, the striving to reach the highest possible position in life] is a theme in the comedy. How does the play demonstrate humanity’s attempt to gain powerover others?

Answer: Valère is a character who represents the typical “valiant do-gooder” archetype, although Molière plays with this idea a bit by showing Valère to be a bit of a buffoon. His character is very similair to Romeo from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but this is counteracted by his clumsiness and overactive sense of romanticism. His intentions may be fair and his love may be true, but the only reason he was able to “get the girl” was because of the intervention of others. This plays off of Nietzsche’s idea of “the will to power” because although Valère would’ve probably believed in that philosophy, he still needed to rely on others to obtain his desires in the end.

Posted by: Jacob Gates at October 28, 2013 03:25 PM

Allison Sheftall
HON 250 Humanistic Tradition CA02
Dr. Hobbs
29 October 2013

Question:Tartuffe caused quite a scandal back in the day? Does it still retain any shock value? Why or why not?

Answer: The play still retains some shock value, Orgon taking his son off the will and giving everything to Tartuffe, and also letting Tartuffe live in the house while evveryone else is so skeptical about him are two major aspects that add to the shock of the play. Today, People fall for con artists all the time, but they are usually street performers or sketchy people selling items. There are also a lot of movies that involve people being immposters so its not such a new concept. This theme of being an imposter isn't the part that adds shock value to the play but instead the shock comes from the actions of Orgon insteady of Tartuffe being sneaky.

Posted by: Allison Sheftall at October 30, 2013 10:01 AM

Mallorie Shawe
Dr. Hobbs
HON 250 The Humanistic Tradition CA02
30 October 2013

Question: Who is the most sensible person in the play? Why? Explain.

Answer: I will be using the translation by Curtis Hidden Page to answer the question above. Dorine, Orgon’s house maid, seems to be the most sensible person in the play. She is always around the house and see’s what everyone does, and interprets it. Seeing what goes on gives her a different impression of Tartuffe than the one Orgon has. Though Tartuffe is set up to marry Mariane, Orgon’s daughter, Dorine suspects he feels fondly of Elmire. “She has some influence with this Tartuffe, he makes a point of heeding all she says, and I suspect that he is fond of her” (Moliere 21). She can tell that something is not right about this Tartuffe person, and is slowly learning more about his ways and trickery.

Posted by: Mallorie Shawe at October 30, 2013 11:37 AM

Mallorie Shawe
Dr. Hobbs
HON 250 The Humanistic Tradition CA02
30 October 2013

Question: Who is the most sensible person in the play? Why? Explain.

Answer: I will be using the translation by Curtis Hidden Page to answer the question above. Dorine, Orgon’s house maid, seems to be the most sensible person in the play. She is always around the house and see’s what everyone does, and interprets it. Seeing what goes on gives her a different impression of Tartuffe than the one Orgon has. Though Tartuffe is set up to marry Mariane, Orgon’s daughter, Dorine suspects he feels fondly of Elmire. “She has some influence with this Tartuffe, he makes a point of heeding all she says, and I suspect that he is fond of her” (Moliere 21). She can tell that something is not right about this Tartuffe person, and is slowly learning more about his ways and trickery.

Posted by: Mallorie Shawe at October 30, 2013 11:38 AM

Dafne Jacobs
Dr. Hobbs
HON 250 The Humanistic Tradition
30 October 2013

Question: Who has control in the play and who loses it and why? What are some extremes of loss of control depicted in the play? Relate control to the virtue of moderation, the use and abuse of power, and the legitimate and illegitimate exercise of authority.

Answer: Before the play begins, before Tartuffe has arrived at Orgon's house, Orgon held the control of his household. However, Tartuffe begins to take control of the house through religious authority. Orgon says that Tartuffe “censures everything” and has transformed the daily life in Orgon's house. Orgon and his family are now subject to Tartuffe's rules, which are justified through religion. Orgon gives up all the power he has gained through social class and wealth to Tartuffe simply because of his religious facade. Through all of this, everyone else's lives are controlled either by Tartuffe or Orgon. All the power goes from Orgon straight to Tartuffe, which alters the lives of others. For example, Marianne no longer gets to choose who she will marry. This is an extreme loss of control, which is highlighted near the end of the play when Tartuffe finally reveals his hypocrisy and his true motives and attempts to evict Orgon and his family from the house. This shows that lack of moderation and abuse of power can lead to detrimental consequences. If Orgon had not been so extreme about his devotion to Tartuffe because of Tartuffe's religion, he would not have given him all his property. In the same way, if Tartuffe had not abused this power and shown his desire for Elmire, he may have been able to stay in the house and enjoy all its benefits. In the same way, Tartuffe's illegitimate exercise of authority is shown at the end of the play and results in him getting caught.

Posted by: Dafne Jacobs at October 30, 2013 01:22 PM

Jennifer Doyle
Dr. Hobbs
HON250 The Humanistic Tradition CA02
30 October 2013

Question: What do you make of Orgon? Is he ultimately a sympathetic character? Why, or why not? Explain.

Answer: Orgon appears to be very sympathetic towards Tartuffe, but I believe it is for his own benefit. Orgon befriends Tartuffe because he believes Tartuffe can lead him to God and salvation. Orgon becomes attached to Tartuffe which makes him very defensive towards his family. Ultimately, we see Orgon's true nature when he finds out the truth about Tartuffe. He wouldn't have treated Tartuffe the same way if he knew the truth all along. Orgon spoke very harshly about the imposter once he had come to his senses, saying, "Hell never harbored anything so vicious" (Moliere 75). He showed no sympathy for Tartuffe once he found out his true identity.

Posted by: Jennifer Doyle at October 30, 2013 02:13 PM

Joe Radigan
Dr. Hobbs
Honors 250 Humanistic Tradition CA02
29 October 2013

Question: How is Dorine indispensable to the plot of the play? How would the play be affected if her part were omitted?

Answer: Even thought Dorine is only a maid, her role is absolutely necessary in this play. She is important because she gives Mariane good advice and helps her along the way. Dorine is also strongly against this wedding. She shows this by saying, "My conscience will not let me rest/ If i allow this match and don't protest" (Moliere 270). Without Dorine, the plot could be completely different. Since Dorine helps prevent the marriage, without her the marriage may occur.

Posted by: Joe Radigan at October 30, 2013 02:51 PM

Burke F Tomaselli
Dr. Hobbs
HON250 Humanistic Tradition CA02

Q: Why can the plays ending be considered plot manipulation

A: The plays ending can be considered plot manipulation because a simple change of heart allows for the entire plot to turn up-side-down. Instead of Orgon’s family being at the “wrong end” of the law, Tartuffe is suddenly charged and imprisoned for his play’s-worth of actions. It can be considered deus-ex machine because of how the play’s issues are resolved in a quick matter which is intangible.

Posted by: Burke Tomaselli at October 30, 2013 03:04 PM

Glen Pringle
HON250
10/30/2013
Dr. Hobbes

Tartuffe, The Imposter

Q: Why can the play’s ending be considered plot manipulation? (deus ex machina)?

A: The ending of the play can be considered a plot intervention because of the introduction of the King as a character. He is in a different class than the other characters, "who sees into our inmost hearts/And can't be fooled by any trickster's arts". (5.7.19) Molière was forced to use the deus ex machina plot device as a way to appease Louis XIV and the angry Church.

Posted by: Glen Pringle at October 30, 2013 03:17 PM

Jacob Gates
Dr. Hobbs
HON 250 CA02 The Humanistic Tradition
30 October 2013

Question: “Do you believe Molière ridicules religion in the play? Or does he
ridicule people who practice religion the wrong way? Why, or why
not? Explain.”

Answer: It is difficult to determine if Moliere despises religion itself or merely religious hypocrites, because there are no other overly religious figures in the play. There are a handful of characters who express an interest or fondness in religion outside of Tartuffe, but there are no characters who one would say are virtuous because they are religious. Moliere is without a doubt a humanist, and Tartuffe may be a prime example of the humanist belief that one can be “good without God”. And at the very least Moliere is highly skeptical of religion and those who practice it.

Posted by: Jacob Gates at October 30, 2013 03:27 PM

Shayvonne “Shay” Renaud
Dr. Hobbs
Hon 250 CA02 Humanistic Traditions
28 October 2013

5. Q: Cléante seems to be the resident wise man in Orgon’s house, but to what extent can we trust the things he says?

A: Cléante is not just the “resident wise man,” Cléante also acts as the voice of reason, which is why the characters and audience alike should trust his judgment wholeheartedly. Although Cléante’s delivery is sometimes arrogant or forceful, his message was always on target; either to the benefit of the family or as the reasonable and rational force when hearts and minds was led astray. Cléante tried to defend his family against Tartuffe’s hypocrisy on numerous occasions; however Cléante also prevented Orgon from rashly lashing out at Tartuffe when his fraudulent piety was revealed.

Posted by: Shayvonne "Shay" Renaud at October 30, 2013 10:47 PM

Shayvonne “Shay” Renaud
Dr. Hobbs
Hon 250 CA02 Humanistic Traditions
4 November 2013


The setting of Molière’s Tartuffe is Orgon’s house located in Paris, France amidst the religious upheaval during the reign of King Louis XIV. In this time, those in the king’s favor or those who held positions of authority in the church were held in high regards. In Tartuffe, the setting influences the action and plot by establishing the foundation for Molière’s hidden agenda to call attention to and besmirch hypocrisy, gullibility, and immorality in the church.
Tartuffe takes place throughout the time of religious unrest. The Roman Catholic Church held a lot of power, and although Moliere was raised catholic and did not hold a grudge against the church, Molière despised the gross display of hypocrisy among the falsely pious surrounding him. So by setting Tartuffe in a time where religious authority and piety was considered in high esteem, Molière was able to forge a plot that revolved around the hypocrisy of a falsely pious man. An example is Act 3, Scene 3. Tartuffe gets caught attempting to seduce Elmire, by Damis who tries to warn his father, Orgon; however, Tartuffe manages to fool Orgon into believing in his innocence via false piety. “Yes, brother, I am guilty, a miserable sinner steeped in evil… whatever wrong they find to charge me with, I’ll not deny it but guard against the pride of self-defense” (Tartuffe 3.3.). Molière used the timeframe of the Roman Catholic Movement that championed intense piety, so he could criticize the deceitfully intense pious through his hypocritical character Tartuffe.
Molière also uses the setting to smear the gullibility of churchgoers during his era who blindly endorsed the sham religions that were rampant during the Roman Catholic Movement. This setting of “The Movement” influenced the character Orgon, who acted as a vessel for the message Molière wanted to send those churchgoers. Orgon’s family warned him consistently that Tartuffe was trouble; however Orgon persistently supported Tartuffe. In Act 3, Scene 4, Orgon bombarded his son with vile verbal abuse in the name of Tartuffe; silencing Damis by calling him a “villain”, “Monster,” and even threatening him. “Another word, I’ll break your every bone” (Tartuffe.3.4.). Molière does not condemn the sincerely religious, just those whose gullibility allowed them to be made fools of by the falsely pious.
Lastly, the setting of Tartuffe influences the action and plot of the story by calling forth a satirical element that harbors on churchgoers of his times’ obsession with piety and morality. The churchgoers of Molière’s time were so gullible, and obsessed with piety and morality that they allowed themselves to be “suckered” by the falsely pious who capitalized on the foolishness of the religious. Tartuffe for example, acted as a “moral and spiritual” authority when he truly was a hypocrite who acted in an immoral and unethical fashion. Moliere wanted to expose the hypocrites of the time through comedy: hence the full plot of Tartuffe.
In conclusion, the setting of Tartuffe acted as a springboard for the messages that Molière wanted to put forth which called attention to and besmirched the hypocrisy, gullibility, and immorality in the church. Because the setting was during the course of the Roman Catholic Movement, the plot was able to follow the adverse effects of piety obsessed churchgoers whose gullibility allowed them to be bamboozled by the falsely pious.

Posted by: Shayvonne "Shay" Renaud at November 4, 2013 02:41 PM

Joe Radigan
Dr. Hobbs
Honors 250 Humanistic Tradition CA02
3 November 2013
The Role of Women
Throughout history, women have played different roles in society. One place that this can be seen is in literature. Women can play a crucial role or they may be an ordinary character. The roles of women can be compared between Molière’s Tartuffe and Shakespeare’s Othello. In Othello, Desdemona is an obedient wife who does not question her husband and rarely speaks out; while in Tartuffe, the maid, Dorine, is very outspoken and tells people what she believes is right. Both women also share some roles, they are expected to be obedient and listen to their masters although Dorine does not. The roles of each woman play an important part to the plot and the ending of each play and without which the play would fall apart. Due to Desdemona not speaking out, she ends up dead and as a result of Dorine speaking out, the wedding does not take place.
Desdemona and Dorine are both expected to listen and be obedient. For the most part, only Desdemona follows this and listens to Othello. In both plays, both of the women are swung at, but only Desdemona gets hit. Dorine is able to dodge the blow while Desdemona does not try to dodge it. After Desdemona is slapped, she tells Othello she did not deserve it but then says she will leave, “I will not stay to offend you” (Shakespeare 92). This shows that she is obedient and does not question Othello. Even, Lodovico notices this when he says, “Truly, an obedient lady” (Shakespeare 92). Dorine continually speaks out of place and after she says “I wouldn’t marry that man on a bet,” Orgon attempts to slap her but misses (Molière 272). After he swings and misses, no one yells at him or confronts him about attempting to hit a woman. This shows that in both plays, it is okay to hit women and treat them as property, although Dorine dodges the blow.
The roles of each woman also differ greatly from play to play. In Othello, Desdemona is almost sheltered and treated as a prize. She very rarely speaks back to Othello and follows his direction most of the time. This ends up being her downfall as she allows Othello to kill her even though she knows it is coming. She also does not put up a good fight when Othello confronts her before he kills her. This may be a result of her not being used standing up for herself. Desdemona has a feeling that Othello may kill her but obeys his command and does not fight back. When she realizes this, she says, “O, banish me, my lord, but kill me not!” (Shakespeare 117). This shows that even though she knows she will die, she does not run or fight Othello.
Dorine is completely different when it comes to listening to her master. Multiple times she is told to stop talking and listen to Orgon. She does not do this and continues to play mind games with Orgon and Mariane. Without Dorine being disobedient, there is a great chance that Mariane would have married Tartuffe. Orgon gets extremely annoyed with Dorine and says, “In short, you must obey the master’s voice, and show yourself compliant to my voice” (Moliere 272). Dorine goes on to ignore Orgon and try to persuade Mariane not to marry Tartuffe and stand up for herself. Dorine’s stubbornness is extremely important to the success of Mariane. There are two completely different roles of women between Dorine and Desdemona. If Desdemona would have acted like that, Othello most likely would have killed her sooner.
Although Dorine is only a maid, she has an extremely important role. It also shows how the role of women changed over time. In Othello, women were not supposed to speak back and where punished severely if they did something wrong. However, in Tartuffe, Dorine continues to act out and is not punished by Orgon. This shows that it was becoming more and more acceptable for women to have a say in certain situations. This is seen even though Orgon tries to smack Dorine. He misses and does not continue to try to hit her, almost as if he just wanted her to stop talking, not inflict pain. Overall, the role of each woman is completely different but each role is crucial to its own play and without it, the play would fail.

Posted by: Joe Radigan at November 6, 2013 10:06 AM

Jennifer Doyle
Dr. Hobbs
HON250 The Humanistic Tradition CA02
6 November 2013

CHAOS VERSUS REASON
Throughout the play Tartuffe, by Moliere, very few characters utilize good reason and therefore, they are the brains of the group. Even more characters use poor judgment and contribute to the play’s chaos. Many characters could’ve been considered reasonable had they tried harder to help the situation. Even worse, those who were unreasonable in the beginning of the play remained unreasonable until the end, even after the chaos had ended. Some were reasonable during the complete duration of the play, which can be accredited to the fact that they were on the outside looking in. Their judgment wasn’t clouded by a false idea or being.
The protagonist and main fool of the play is Orgon, the man who takes in a fraud by the name of Tartuffe, whom he falsely believes is a holy man. Orgon is very deluded right from the beginning of the play and continues to lack reason until the end. The majority of his family can see the true Tartuffe and try to inform Orgon, but he won’t believe them. This is due to the fact that his judgment is so skewed by the lies of the skilled imposter. Orgon is deeply focused on becoming more religious and eventually achieving salvation. He wants it so bad that he will choose Tartuffe, whom he barely knows, over his own loving family. Because of his lack of reason and wit, Orgon never perceives the obvious clues Tartuffe shows nor does he listen to his family’s pleas. If he had any bit of reason he would have taken his family’s statements into consideration, even for a brief moment, and would have seen the truth in the imposter.
Another who lacks reason as well as contributes to the chaos of the play is Orgon’s judgmental mother, Madame Pernelle. She is in the opening act of the play, along with Flipote, Damis, Elmire, Cleante, Mariane, and Dorine. She is trying to leave her son’s house, which appalls her because she disapproves of the slander being spoken about Tartuffe. She insults everyone around her and says to Damis, “He’s (Tartuffe) a fine man, and should be listened to. I will not hear him mocked by fools like you” (Moliere 172). This statement is ironic because she is the fool, not them, for not noticing the situation. Similar to her son, Madame Pernelle prefers Tartuffe over her own family. One’s family should be the most trusted group of people in one’s life. It is not the least bit reasonable to trust a stranger off the streets over your own family. Even when Orgon finds out the truth about Tartuffe and is on the verge of losing all of his possessions, his mother won’t believe his arguments against the fraud. To her son’s statements Madame Pernelle replies, “No, my son, I’ll never bring myself to think him guilty of such a thing” (Moliere 304). She is easily the most ignorant and senseless character in the play.
Orgon’s family: Elmire, Cleante, Damis, and Dorine the maid are the most reasonable characters because they see the situation from the outside. They never ease up or give Tartuffe the benefit of the doubt. Each of these people has their own individual instance in which they confront either Tartuffe or Orgon with their facts and reasoning to why they are sure he is an imposter. These clear-minded characters never get absorbed into the chaos because they use reason throughout the whole play.
Orgon is initially unreasonable because he is fooled by the false hope that Tartuffe gives him. Once he realizes the error of his ways it is too late, Tartuffe already owns all of his possessions. Orgon is then very irrational, saying, “I’m through with pious men: Henceforth I’ll hate the whole false brotherhood, and persecute them worse than Satan could” (Moliere 301). Because of one fraud, Orgon assumes all pious men to be false. The only reasonable decision Orgon made was to allow the marriage of Mariane and Valere; these were his final wishes.

Posted by: Jennifer Doyle at November 6, 2013 02:22 PM

Google
My Blog

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some rights reserved. 2006.