Character Analysis of Moliere’s Comedy Tartuffe
The play “Tartuffe” was written by Moliere who was born in Paris, France and is also known as one of the best comic playwrights of his times. The play is set according to the Parisians during the era of King Louis XIV. It is a story of a rich man named Orgon who lived with his family and wife. His wife’s name was Elmire, daughter Mariane and son Damis. Elmire was the stepmother of Mariane and Damis. Mariane is engaged to Valere. Orgon’s mother’s name was Pernelle and Cleante was his brother-in-law. There’s also a maid in the house named Dorine. The story starts when Orgon adds a new member to his family as his new friend known as Tartuffe whom he met at the church. This man represents himself to be such a pious and devoted man, owing to which Orgon keeps him in his home as a religious guide who could lead his children to the right path. He was not what he actually posed himself in front of the others. As it is rightly said that “looks are deceptive”. It applies in this story as well. It is also discussed in the play that Cleante who comes to know about Tartuffe’s bad intentions tries to tell Orgon that he is not a good man and is using religion to show himself as a good man but in reality, he wants to take your property. Orgon doesn’t believe him because he has so much confidence in Tartuffe and takes him as a saint. When Damis also tries to convince his father that Tartuffe is not a good man and he is trying to seduce Elmire his mother still doesn’t believe him instead he disinherit him and orders him to leave the house immediately. On the other hand, Orgon asks his daughter to marry Tartuffe instead of Valere and she as an obedient daughter didn’t say a word in front of his father although in her heart she loves Valere and wanted to marry him and no one else. Although both of them loved one another but never expressed their love. Dorine the maid made them realize that they are made for each other. Orgon who is blinded by Tartuffe’s nice image refuses to accept anything. He treats him as above all the family members of which he took full advantage. In the present world, we find a lot of examples of people like him who betrays the trust of others. When Orgon comes to know that Tartuffe has betrayed his trust when his wife tells him to hide under the table when she converses with him. There and then he asks him to leave the house who in turn says that he will take his revenge from Orgon and he even gets the chance to do so as he held with him a box that contained some legal papers of Orgon’s friend. At that moment Orgon came to know that Tartuffe has illegally taken his property and claims himself to be the real owner of the house. But all his plans come to an end when the King’s Guard arrest him instead of Orgon as he has committed a number of crimes by changing his names. Valere saved Orgon from being arrested owing to which he announced the immediate marriage of his daughter with him. Well, in my opinion, I think that there are a lot of people who are engaged in such a profession and defraud innocent people. People have become obsessed with money and other materialistic things that they portray themselves to be good and use religion to gain the interest of others. The same happened in this play where Orgon refuses to accept anything said against Tartuffe because his saintly character blindfolds him. Even he doesn’t listen to his son and his best friend. This is happening very commonly nowadays. Cleante’s character is referred to as a positive character that not only tries to save his friend but in the end advises him not to hold any hard feelings for him and tells him to wish that one-day Tartuffe may become a good man in reality. Both characters have held their importance throughout the play. In today’s world, it is very difficult to find a sincere friend like Cleante. In this play, the writer tried to explain that Christianity is not what the character of Tartuffe portrayed but the character of Cleante that tells us about the true virtues of Christianity. According to Moliere, the only way to correct to the immoral behavior of the people was through the comic drama to which he said:
“It is a great blow to vice to expose it to everybody’s laughter,” because “We do not mind being wicked, but no one wants to be ridiculed (Moliere).
Moliere, “Tartuffe.” CliffsNotes.com. CliffsNotes, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2011.