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In “Tartuffe” by Moliere, Tartuffe teaches the audience about how we should not judge a book by its cover and portrayed himself as a holy and pious man, however that was not the case. In the story, the trust between wife and husband, son and father, and daughter and father developed strained relationships due to Orgon`s blindness to Tartuffe`s dishonesty. One example is when Orgon returned from his trip; he began to ask Dorine, Mariane`s maid, “What`s been going on?”. Dorine responded that his wife, Elmire, has been feeling very ill. However, all Orgon could ask was, “What of Tartuffe?”, “And Tartuffe?”. Nothing concerning his wife, who is deadly ill. Another example is when Elmire tries endlessly to shine the light on Tartuffe`s seductive advances towards her. Not trusting the accusations against Tartuffe cause his relationship to become tainted with Orgon defending Tartuffe. Another example would be, Tartuffe seducing Elmire. Tartuffe tries to sway Elmire into thinking that having an affair with him will be worth the risk. That sinning isn’t a sin if they do not get caught. He believes no one will know of their affair but them. However, Orgon brushed off the accusation by stating, “He guides our lives, and to protect my honor. Stays by my wife and keeps an eye upon her; He tells me whom he sees, and all she does, and seems more jealous than I ever was!”.
Orgon`s blindness to Tartuffe`s fraudulence, he continues to make Tartuffe apart of the family, somehow. An idea struck Orgon and he set out to find his daughter, Mariane. Once he found her, he pulled her to the side and initiated to asking questions such as, “What do you think of Tartuffe?”. “How do you feel about him?”. Mariane responded, “You can’t mean, Father…’. Orgon began to enlighten his views to Mariane. However, his thoughts turned into demands, ‘Yes, Tartuffe shall be allied by marriage to this family, and he’s to be your husband, is that clear? It’s a father’s privilege…’. Knowing Mariane wasn’t one to defy her father and would ensure that whatever he requested was done. However, she was promised to another man. Orgon voiced that Tartuffe would be a better man than Valere. Mariane didn’t want to marry Tartuffe because she identified his treacherous ways. His demands caused tension in their relationship.
In the story, when Tartuffe was trying to seduce Elmire, Damis saw the whole scene with his own eyes. He couldn’t believe Tartuffe would do anything that would cause an even bigger conflict. When Orgon returned home, Damis made it his mission to tell his father of Tartuffe`s toxic presence. ‘She, with her too gentle disposition, would not have told you of his proposition; But I shall not make terms with brazen lechery, And feel that not to tell you would be treachery.’ Orgon blindness to Tartuffe`s backstabbing, Tartuffe tells Orgon, “’Yes, brother, I’m a wicked man, I fear: A wretched sinner, all depraved and twisted, The greatest villain that has ever existed. […] Believe what you are told, and drive Tartuffe Like some base criminal from beneath your roof; Yes, drive me hence, and with a parting curse: I shan’t protest, for I deserve far worse.’ Seemingly, Orgon is charmed by Tartuffe`s speech, however he believes Tartuffe is only saying that to please his son, Damis. Orgon looks at Damis furiously and tells him, ‘Ah, you deceitful boy, how dare you try; To stain his purity with so foul a lie?’. Orgon slaps Damis and disown him from his family.
In conclusion, Tartuffe shows the audience or readers that you cannot judge a book by its cover. Tartuffe depicted himself as holy and honest man, when in truth he used the church as a way to deceive Orgon and his family. However, Orgon`s family saw through Tartuffe`s façade and tried limitlessly to display the true colors of Tartuffe; this so called “Holy and Honest Man”.
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