Moliere's Tartuffe

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Moliere?s Tartuffe; or The Imposter (translated by Christopher Hampton) Presumably written in the late 1650?s Joanne Greendale March 25, 2002 Tartuffe is a five-act comedy that takes place in Orgon?s well-to-do Parisian home. The play begins with Orgon?s mother, Madame Pernelle, admonishing her family for entertaining and enjoying material goods and worldly pleasures. She warns them that they should be following the teachings of Tartuffe, a spiritual advisor who has practically spellbound Orgon and his mother. Everyone else in the family can see that Tartuffe is a hypocritical fraud and that he has nearly taken over the household with his self-righteous control and seemingly pious advice. However, Orgon refuses to see this and is virtually enthralled by Tartuffe?s feigned godliness. In fact, Orgon plans to renege on his promise that Marianne, his daughter, can marry her love, Valere, in order for her to wed Tartuffe instead. The family is horrified, but Orgon is so mesmerized by Tartuffe that he wants him to be a permanent part of the family.

Elmire, Orgon?s wife, meets with Tartuffe privately and begs him to refuse this marriage plan. During the meeting, Tartuffe attempts to seduce Elmire, but Damis, Orgon?s son, overhears and exposes this scandalous event to his father. Incredibly, Orgon refuses to believe his son or his wife. Instead, he disinherits Damis and drives him from the house for slandering the virtuous Tartuffe. In order to make amends with Tartuffe for this disparagement, Orgon gives Tartuffe a gift ? he is to be the sole heir to all of Orgon?s worldly goods, his entire estate.

Desperate for Orgon to accept the truth and see Tartuffe for what he really is, Elmire offers to show him Tartuffe?s true colors. With Orgon hiding under a table, Elmire sends...