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While analyzing Tartuffe by Moliere from the perspective of a societal critique, it is essential to give a brief overview of the play. Tartuffe is Molière’s drama about religious belief that fundamentally redefined the ends and targets of comedy. In other words, Molière has entertainingly treated such a theme in a religiously profound age.
As the main character of this work of literature, Tartuffe is eventually a fraud because sinful actions entirely reverse the Catholic values he discourses. Even though Tartuffe entitlements to be charitable, pious, and holy, he is greedy, immoral, and unfaithful. His duplicity is hazardous and infectious, undermining the entire household of Orgon and negatively impacting those individuals who have faith in his religious human nature. Those people who believe Tartuffe furthermore become charlatans themselves. As an evident example, it is possible to consider the situation when Madame Pernelle, who discourses Christian contributions, strikes her servant while Orgon commits numerous sins in relation to his family.
At the same time, there are the characters who may be considered the strongest ones since they stand against the hypocrisy of Tartuffe. They are the following: Dorine, Cléante, and Elmire
Both Dorine and Cléante use rhetoric in their language within their attempts to combat Tartuffe. Still, even while the arguments of these people are logical, they cannot overcome Tartuffe.
At the end of the play, the readers see Elmire, who reveals Tartuffe’s true nature while using Tartuffe’s envy for evidence of his two-facedness in relation to her husband, Orgon. Still, even the bravery of Elmire is not capable of thwarting the plans of Tartuffe to the full extent since Tartuffe succeeds in making the legal claim over the family’s property.
The actual conquest comes for him in the form of a royal verdict from the King, who ultimately negates his claim. The twist of the final plot of the play is defined as Deus ex machine. The specifics of such an end is that the apparently impossible situation is resolved almost magically – via the King’s decree concerning the legal claim of Tartuffe. Therefore, it is possible to make a statement that Moliere has undertaken an attempt to use the degree of the King to seem unbelievable and miraculous and, in such a manner, demonstrate the destructive and unsafe nature of hypocrisy.
It is possible to make a statement that Tartuffe becomes an appraisal of Molière’s society since the hero of Tartuffe signifies those representatives of society who discourse religious devoutness but still do not follow such moral rules and regulations they intend to enforce upon others.
This statement may be traced in the play’s following passage: “He always wanted to return a part. “It is too much,” he’d say, “too much by half; I am not worthy of your pity.” Then, When I refused to take it back, he’d go, Before my eyes, and give it to the poor.” (Molir̈e and Wilbur)
Therefore, it is possible to claim that this work of literature is a social critique since it reveals the evils inherent to different societies – such as fraud and dishonesty. There are always the talented scoundrels who may become masters of different situations, betray people and gain the benefits from such actions, and stay almost unpunished for such wrongdoings.
Molir̈e , and Richard Wilbur. Tartuffe. Harcourt, Brace and World, 1963. Print