Tartuffe by Molière

Tartuffe is a famous French play, also known as The Impostor or The Hypocrite. It was first performed in 1664 and is considered one of Molière’s greatest roles. Despite the play’s controversial reputation, it is well worth seeing, especially for its rich history and complex themes.

Orgon
The play begins with the prince Orgon telling his daughter Mariane that he wishes her to marry Tartuffe. Mariane is shocked to hear this, because she thought Orgon had already agreed to marry her love, Valere. However, Mariane is too obedient to openly protest her father’s wishes. She stays passive while her father argues that marrying Tartuffe is the right choice for her. Then, Dorine comes into the scene and interjects, trying to talk Orgon out of forcing Mariane to marry Tartuffe.

The prince’s majesty demands a reward for helping Orgon, but she is not willing to accept this. In the end, Tartuffe agrees and tells Orgon that he is a traitor and must be put to death. After Orgon is arrested, Valere offers to lend Orgon a carriage and ten thousand gold. Orgon reluctantly accepts, despite his wife’s protestations.

Meanwhile, Damis, the son of Orgon, sees Tartuffe and Elmire having an affair. When Damis overhears the conversation, he tells his father about it, which causes Orgon to disinherit Damis. Orgon then orders Damis out of the house. He also designates Tartuffe as the sole heir, and writes the deed to the castle for him.

Despite the fact that Orgon’s daughter is in love with Tartuffe, she does not accept his proposal. She instead chooses to marry the man she loves, Valere. However, Orgon forces Mariane to marry Tartuffe. The marriage is not successful, and Orgon becomes a jealous husband. However, the couple’s son, DAMIS, is not happy with the result.

As Tartuffe has been raised in a different way from Orgon, he lacks morals and has no capacity to love or trust others. As a result, Tartuffe has no real family life and must obtain everything in life by himself. Consequently, he becomes bitter and cruel towards the people who helped him.

Despite Orgon’s arrogance and stubbornness, his wife Dorine and daughter Mariane manipulate him into believing Tartuffe has betrayed him. They do not want Orgon to be in the position of master of their household. This enables them to manipulate him into submitting to their wishes.

Molière’s play has been adapted for stage and film. The film was produced by Ufa in 1926 and starred Emil Jannings, Lil Dagover, and Werner Krauss. Another film adaptation of Tartuffe was Le tartuffe, which was directed and starred Gérard Depardieu. Both adaptations of Tartuffe contain references to the play and suggest that the play is based on Tartuffe.

The play presents marriage as a crucial aspect of society. Women are often cast as minor characters. In a patriarchal society, women are treated as servants and men as the master. In the play, the relationship between the sexes is similar to a servant-boss relationship, and men have the power to make decisions for women. As a result, Orgon’s daughters and son are viewed as tools in her hand, unable to defend their own interests.

Orgon’s decision to marry Tartuffe is an example of how power plays out in a family. The scheming Tartuffe is a master of deception. He tries to fool Orgon by pretending to be someone he isn’t. He even uses the power of his position to manipulate the master’s family.

The play opens with Tartuffe bringing a gentleman from the King’s guard to Orgon’s home. He announces that he’s there to arrest Orgon. In turn, the gentleman tells Tartuffe that Orgon had committed crimes under another name. He also informs Orgon that the King has returned his property to him.

The play has many themes and focuses on various characters and events. One such theme is Orgon’s hypocritical piety, which allows Tartuffe to gain power over Orgon’s family. Orgon’s son, who has become an orphan, overhears this and becomes angry with him. Ultimately, Orgon orders Tartuffe to leave the house, but he doesn’t leave. He threatens revenge and tries to seize his property. He eventually is arrested by the King, but the King intervenes and Orgon is freed.

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