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Tartuffe, Swift and Voltaire
In his own way, Moliere's Tartuffe represents one aspect of the Enlightenment, if only a negative one, since he is a purely self-interested individual who cares only about advancing his own wealth and status. He is a fraud, a con artist and a hypocrite who puts on a show of religion but is really only interested in stealing Orgon's estate -- and his wife. Orgon is too foolish to understand this until the end, although his wise and cunning servant Dorine understands Tartuffe's intentions almost immediately. In this case, the uneducated servant is far more intelligent and clever than her master, who even seems callously indifferent to the illness of his wife. By the standards of the time, Orgon is a very incompetent head of household and a poor ruler and governor, in choosing a corrupt and scheming advisor who only intends to destroy his estate…
"Let's not descend to such indignities. / Leave the poor wretch to his unhappy fate, / And don't say anything to aggravate / His present woes; but rather hope that he / ill soon embrace an honest piety, / And mend his ways, and by a true repentance," states Cleante at the final scene of Moliere's Tartuffe. The fact that Cleante offers forgiveness in a most noble manner reveals that Moliere is doing more than merely satirizing French society. The playwright offers distinct pathways to psychological and social growth. Satire is the catalyst by which an individual can see through the problems in the society, motivating a person to change. The primary problem in French society according to Moliere is hypocrisy. Moliere pokes fun of the fact that many French people continued to be wooed by the promises of religion, when religion brings nothing but empty promises and platitudes.…
Moliere, Jean-Baptiste Poquellin. Tartuffe. Trans. Richard Wilbur. Retrieved online: http://faculty.mdc.edu/dmcguirk/LIT2480/tartuffe.htm
An Analysis of Hypocrisy in Moliere's Tartuffe
No greater example of the religious hypocrite exists in all history than the example of the Philistine. hat characterizes the Philistine (and all hypocrites) is something Richard eaver describes as a barbarian desire to see a thing "as it is" (24). hat eaver implies is that the hypocrite, while making a great show of piety and the possession of virtue, actually lacks the interior life that indicates the real possession of transcendental virtue. The hypocrite is encouraged by outward show: he cares nothing for the life of the soul. The soul, in fact, being of a spiritual and abstract nature, is not even something the hypocrite takes care to fathom. For this reason, the hypocrite is impatient of all contemplation -- as eaver says: "Impatient of the veiling with which the man of higher type gives the world imaginative meaning, the barbarian…
Bates, Alfred. The Drama: Its History, Literature and Influence on Civilization. UK:
Historical Publishing Company, 1906.
Moliere. Tartuffe. Project Gutenberg. 2004. Web. 23 July 2011.
"Moliere's 'Tartuffe'." The University of Akron. 2005. Web. 23 July 2011.
The places they live in and the things that surround them are in varying degrees atmospheric and expressive. In Tartuffe material objects, the props and the house itself, and the places alluded to?
Paris and province, heaven and earth, palace and prison?
have a particular importance (Hope 44).
This does not tie the play to a particular time and place, however, but only shows the importance of locale to the action of the play. Members of the audience also belong to different circles in this scheme and recognize their place in the text.
Holding back the physical appearance of Tartuffe in the play allows other players to exaggerate when describing him and to play to the prejudices of the gallery as far as what such a religious man would be like. The play follows a careful structure to achieve its effect, a structure that would be appreciate by the more…
Hope, Quentin M. "Place and Setting in Tartuffe." Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 89(1)(January 1974), 42-49.
Moliere. Tartuffe. Translated by Richard Wilbur. New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1963.
Zwillenberg, Myrna Kogan. "Dramatic Justice in 'Tartuffe.'" Modern Language Notes 90(4)(April 1975), 583-590.
Moliere's Tartuffe is from 17th century France, during the Enlightenment, or the Age of Reason. Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King, was the ruler of France at this time. People in Paris were interested in Enlightenment values such as rationality, moderation, and order. Also, social graces, good manners, and gender roles were strictly enforced during this period. Moliere demonstrates all of these Enlightenment values in his play. The difference between true religious piety and religious hypocrisy is, of course, the main theme of Tartuffe. Morality was also considered to be important during the Enlightenment. Moliere created the character Tartuffe, who lacks morality. Moreover, Enlightenment thinkers believed that reason was the highest expression of the divine. Moliere's play does not reject religion, because religion played an important role in Enlightenment France. Instead, Moliere created the character of Cleante, who demonstrates both reason and religion. Cleante sees Tartuffe for…
It becomes clear that Tartuffe, as he becomes increasingly powerful in the play, considers himself above the others, and because of his "spirituality," he is above the laws of God, too. He tells Elmire, Orgon's wife, "I'll teach you, Ma'am, that Heaven's contradictions, give latitude to men of pure convictions. it's true that Heaven frowns on some dark acts, though with great men, our Lord makes higher pacts" (Moliere, Act IV, Scene 5). He tells her this as he is attempting to seduce her, so it is clear that Tartuffe thinks he is above everything, including sin, and that he has a "special" pact with God that allows him to pretty much do as he pleases. This is another jab at religion, which often takes itself too seriously, and so do some members of organized religions, and this is who Moliere is parodying in the play.
In the end, Orgon…
Crawford, Jerry L. "Tartuffe: Attacking Hypocrisy, Not Religion." Utah Shakespeare Festival. 2007. 4 Nov. 2008. http://www.bard.org/education/resources/other/tartuffeattacking.html
Moliere. "Tartuffe." Bibliomania. 2008. 4 Nov. 2008. http://www.bibliomania.com/0/6/4/1966/frameset.html
Mooney, Timothy. "Tartuffe." Tartuffe in English. 2008. 4 Nov. 2008. http://moliere-in-english.com/tartuffe.html
In the play, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Moliere narrates the story of how a scoundrel and a hypocrite disguises himself as a pious man of religion. By affecting religious behavior, Tartuffe charms his way into the house and the favors of Orgon, a local rich man. Orgon is unfortunately unable to see through Tartuffe's duplicity, and in the process almost loses all his possessions to the scoundrel Tartuffe. Only the fortuitous intervention of the king saves Orgon's family from the machinations of the unscrupulous Tartuffe ("Tartuffe's Plot").
This paper argues that Tartuffe is best read as a satire against the hypocrisy of political and religious authority figures of Moliere's day.
The satire contained in this play made its author a target of 17th century religious authorities. After all, the main audience of this play was the Parisian elite in the late 17th century. This audience would have understood that Tartuffe had…
Baker, Lyman. "Moliere's Tartuffe as a satire on religious fanaticism." English 233: Introduction to Western Humanities - Baroque & Enlightenment. http://www-personal.ksu.edu/~lyman/english233/Tartuffe-religion.htm
Baker, Lyman. "Tartuffe as political parable." Introduction to Western Humanities - Baroque & Enlightenment. available online at http://www-personal.ksu.edu/~lyman/english233/Tartuffe-politics.htm
Bates, Alfred. "Tartuffe." A History of the Play by Moliere. available at http://www.theatrehistory.com/french/tartuffe001.html .
Bloom, Harold. "Introduction." Moliere. Harold Bloom, ed. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2002.
Tartuffe, Frankenstein, and Candide -- Nature and Science vs. Religion
Moliere's comedic play "Tartuffe," Mary Shelley's science fiction Romantic-era novel Frankenstein, and Voltaire's allegorical political satire Candide, all function as Enlightenment or scientific critiques of the authors' contemporary religious and societal mores. These works all uphold rationalism as the 'natural' or most beneficial state of human belief, in contrast to primitive and absolute trust in religious creed. However, all three works additionally suggest that 'natural' human instinct and trust in common sense and sensibility is also required for living a full human life, as well as a rigorously rational and scientific apprehension of nature.
For instance, Moliere's "Tartuffe" portrays a religious hypocrite in the form of the title character, a man who makes his living by sponging off of the family of a bourgeois gentleman. However, it is not the most academically educated characters that disabuse the householder of his…
Orgon does not fully understand how false Tartuffe is, hoping that by buying Tartuffe's favor he can both buy his way to heaven and buy social cache as a religious man of wisdom and intellect. When Orgon says with approval that he sees that Tartuffe reproves everything, takes extreme care of Orgon's honor, because Tartuffe warns Orgon of the people who cast loving eyes upon the lady, the audience can only laugh at Orgon's pride that Tartuffe more jealous of his wife than her own husband, and the lengths to which Tartuffe carries his pious zeal, accusing himself of sin for the slightest thing imaginable. The audience laughs because when Orgon protests that a mere trifle is enough to shock Tartuffe, the outsider understands that Orgon's lack of a sense of true self-worth is being taken advantage of -- the more he is criticized, and the more he is seen…
Tartuffe (Hypocrite) became public in the year 1664 for the first time as a three act play that, when produced, attracted unfavorable denigration from religious factions. In this paper, I am going to analyze the religious instinct of the play with examples and citations from the play in addition to critical analysis from scholarly sources.
In the play, the writer Moliere derided unnecessary godliness that he opinionates as being a true from of hypocrisy whereby he did not condemn the actions of the pious people, but those who appears to be religious and thus are hypocrites.
Thus, the hypocrisy that is evidently ridiculed in the play is specifically related to religious hypocrites. In fact, the theme and message of the play is convened to the public by means of satire and comedy in the play. If we go in to the history of the play, the time and…
Frame, Donald, trans. Tartuffe, or The Imposter. In Tartuffe and Other Plays. New York: Signet, 1967. 241-312.
Hampton, Christopher, trans. Moliere's Tartuffe. London: Samuel French, 1984.
Slater, Maya, trans. Tartuffe. In Moliere: The Misanthrope, Tartuffe, and Other Plays. Oxford World's Classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. 131-206.
Moliere Tartuffe Acts III-IV
The third and fourth acts of Moliere's comedy Tartuffe raise the drama to a climactic confrontation which resolves in an unexpected direction at the end of Act III, allowing for a new twist in the final act. The third act centers around the actual introduction of Tartuffe -- whom we have heard described from the play's opening but have not yet met. His entrance does not disappoint, filled with lofty religious musings and a willingness to call attention to Dorine's bosom while pretending that it summons in him impure thoughts. Elmire, meanwhile, is planning to use her influence with Tartuffe in order to cancel his ludicrous plan to marry Mariane (in order to get her money). Elmire's private meeting with Tartuffe, and Act III Scene iii of Moliere's Tartuffe is, to a certain extent, the moment that the audience has been waiting for from the beginning…
Here we see a strong female character voicing her opinion to practically anyone that will listen to her. She may be a know-it-all but in this circumstance, a know-it-all is preferable to one that knows absolutely nothing.
Mariane, on the other hand, is character that evolves as the play progresses. In the beginning of the play, she bends to her father's will as far as marrying Tartuffe. The importance of children obeying their father is demonstrating in this act because Mariane is in love with Valere. She tells Dorine how much she and Valere are in love and if her father pushes her to marry Tartuffe she will kill herself. She is fully aware of the circumstances around her but she is fearful of making a stand on her on behalf. Mariane does not have the gumption to stand up to her father and she only gains that strength after…
Moliere, Jean Baptiste. Tartuffe. Moliere Plays. New York: The Modern Company. 1950.
Gulliver's Travels," "Tartuffe," "Madame Bovary," "The Death of Ivan Ilyich," & "Things Fall Apart"
The purpose of this paper is to introduce, discuss, and compare how the theme(s) of "Things Fall Apart" by Achebe relate to the theme and/or storylines of "Gulliver's Travels," by Swift, "Tartuffe," by Moliere, "Madame Bovary," by Flaubert, and "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" by Tolstoy. All these authors use their works to "expose and alter the fundamental moral codes that determine political systems and social mores" (Levine 136).
POLITICAL SYSTEMS AND SOCIAL MORES
Things Fall Apart," by Chinua Achebe is a novel about an African family named Okonkwo, who try to fit in to the white man's society. However, their own society was balanced, happy, and complete, and they did not really need to fit in with the white man. hen they did, it ultimately destroyed their society, and way of life.
Gulliver's Travels," by…
Flaubert, Gustave. Madame Bovary: Life in a Country Town. Trans. Gerard Hopkins. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
Grossman, Debra. "SparkNotes on Gulliver's Travels." SparksNotes.com. 2002. http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/gulliver
Levine, Alan. "Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart as a Case Study in Nietzsche's Transvaluation of Values." Perspectives on Political Science 28.3 (1999): 136-141.
Moliere, Jean Baptiste Poquelin. "Tartuffe." Project Gutenberg. 2002. http://digital.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=2027
Enlightenment-era, Neo-Classical works with Romantic overtones 'Tartuffe," Candide, and Frankenstein all use unnatural forms of character representation to question the common conceptions of what is natural and of human and environmental 'nature.' Moliere uses highly artificial ways of representing characters in dramatic forms to show the unnatural nature of an older man becoming attracted to a younger woman. Voltaire uses unnatural and absurd situations to question the unnatural belief of Professor Pangloss that this is the best of all possible worlds. Mary Shelley creates a fantastic or unnatural scenario to show the unnatural nature of a human scientist's attempt to turn himself into a kind of God-like creator through the use of reason and science alone.
"Tartuffe" is the most obviously unnatural of the three works in terms of its style. It is a play, and the characters do not really develop as human beings because of the compressed nature…
Instead of engaging in a conflict with Tartuffe immediately, the pious members of Orgon's family purposely avoid conflict even when it is to their own detriment.
However, having Mariane married to such a fraud is too much and Orgon's family devise a plan to expose Tartuffe as the true fraud he is while still avoiding any serious conflicts. The plan is to trap Tartuffe into confessing to Elmire, Orgon's wife, his true desire for her. The thought is that a truly pious man who comes to stay as a guest in another man's house would have anything but sexual feelings for the other man's wife. The plan goes according to plan, with Tartuffe seducing Elmire, until the eavesdropping Damis cannot stand the scene anymore and prematurely confronts Tartuffe himself. Suddenly, the conflict between piousness and fraud is ignited, threatening to carry both parties further away from what a pious life…
Hartnoll, Phyllis. Ed. (1983): The Oxford Companion to the Theatre. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Moliere, Jean-Baptiste. (1988): Tartuffe. Dramatists Play Service, Inc.
Roy, Donald. (1995): "Moliere." The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Scott, Virginia. (2000): Moliere: A Theatrical Life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Orgon and Candide
The Enlightenment philosophers believed that God created the world, and as God is the most benevolent, capable mind possible, then the world must be the best possible world. Humans are incapable of understanding the role of evil in the world because they do not understand how the force that God set in place to govern the world. Therefore, when humans see bad things happening, they are unable to comprehend that every bad thing occurs for a greater good. This philosophy is grounded in a strong sense of cause and effect, the pursuit of which leads humans to misperceptions and, ultimately, to misplaced faith.
Orgon's misperceptions are so acute, that it leaves one wondering if his gullibility was native. Orgon's search for salvation brings him to set aside the cautions and warnings of his friends and fall completely for Tartuffe's flattery and trickery. Orgon's blind faith is driven…
Bottiglia, W.F. (Ed.). (1968). Voltaire: A collection of critical essays. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice.
Moliere, Jean-Baptiste Poquellin. (1664). Tartuffe. Translated by Richard Wilbur. Department of English, Miami-Dade College | Kendall.
(2004, June 1). Voltaire. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing.
Versailles was more than just a place inhabited by the French royal family and those close to them, as it was a location where art was in the making, with Moliere and Lully being two of the individuals responsible for transforming the palace into the home of French art in the seventeenth century.
Louis, Lully, and Moliere all collaborated in assisting France in experiencing a process of enlightenment, as the country changed most of its policies during the seventeenth century with the purpose of having these three men and the rest of the country's people exploit its ability to host the concept of art. Even though Louis is likely to be condemned for bringing France into a financial impasse because of his excessive spending, most people are likely to agree that art is one of the best things that one can possibly invest in. The Sun King enabled people to…
Calder, Andrew, "Moliere: The Theory and Practice of Comedy,"
Continuum International Publishing Group, 2000
Campbell, Peter Robert, "Louis XIV, 1661-1715," Longman, 1993.
Parkin, John and Phillips, John, "Laughter and power," Peter Lang, 2006.
In one of the best plays of Moliere, The Misanthrope, we come across honesty as the main theme, which has been carefully incorporated to show the adverse effects of tactless honesty and the consequences of complete lack of honesty. The play was written in the 17th century and the society it depicts is the one that prefers flattery to honesty and conceit to modesty. Despite the fact that the play was meant for audiences of 17th century, it amazingly retains a universal appeal because of the treatment that Moliere extends to the central theme of honesty in the play.
The play revolves around four important characters, Alceste, Celimene, Philinte and Eliante. It is through the characters of Alceste and Celimene that the author conveys his views on honesty. Philinte serves the important purpose of balancing honesty and deceit by adopting a middle path, which is both sensible and…
Rousseau, Jean Jacques "Letter to M. D'Alembert on the Theatre" (1758).
Moliere. The Misanthrope and Tartuffe. Trans. Richard Wilbur. New York, 1954.