"Tartuffe" by Moliere

Essay by lozerboi995High School, 11th grade April 2006

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Literature as we know it today is completely different than that of 400 years ago. During the time when Moliere was being criticized by the Catholic Church for writing Tartuffe, nobody would have ever thought that such grotesque stories such as, Zane's Sex Chronicles, would ever be socially accepted. Not only do people and societal views change over time, but literature as well.

The play "Tartuffe", by Moliere, is a masterpiece created to show people the flaws in human nature. In the play, Moliere intentionally created a climate of religious hypocrites, and with his use of realistic characters, sparked the harsh criticism of the public. The king, Louis XIV, enjoyed the play, but banned it from the public because of the Catholic Church's strong objection. The play was not so much a criticism to religion, but to the people involved in it. In order to receive a clearer understanding of the time period Moliere lived in, the reader must understand what life was like in the mid-17th century under the reign of King Louis XIV.

King Louis set out to strengthen royal power and raise taxes from the overseas empires that he owned. He sent settlers to North America, paid for unwed women to travel to New France to find husbands to marry, and appointed officials to administer justice and economic activities. He wanted an absolute government. He seemed to be a good king, but he had his prejudices against Protestants. He had no tolerance for any other religion. He forbade them to move into New France. He also took drastic measures to further the plan of maintaining a state religion of Roman Catholicism.

King Louis revoked The Edict of Nantes, which was created by King Henry to ensure that Protestants received substantial rights in a Catholic nation. King...