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The Theme of Money in Moliere’s Tartuffe and Henrik Ibsen’s a Doll’s House

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Plays are some of the most critical pieces of literature that date back to the earlier society. Through a well-defined characterization, play writers have proved to have an extended capacity to communicate ideas and deconstruct themes. Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Moliere’s Tartuffe are two of the most acclaimed plays in the world of literature. They have well-defined characters and tackle some of the cost controversial themes that still apply in the modern society. Some of the themes explore in the two plays include hypocrisy. The all-consuming power of obsession, money, work, and religion. The same themes can be extrapolated and be applied to describe and explain existences in any given social setting in the modern context. With regards to the theme of money, there exist notable similarities and differences in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Moliere’s Tartuffe and that can be highlighted with specific references to different characters in the respective plays.

Money is closely associated with the power to control others in Tartuffe and A Doll House. Those that have money often claiming power over those that lack it in any given social or economic settings. For instance, In A Doll House, Torvald Helmer has the capacity to control the life of Nora Helmer. He has a certain amount of meant that places him on a higher commanding scale than Nora. Therefore, Nora is forced to follow his lead and not question when reprimand on her thoughtful spending habits. Money becomes a source of power and confidence that is only claimed by specific characters in the play. Similarly, in the Tartuffe, the character Orgon is rich and claim power over his words and actions. The presence of money in his life gives him the capacity to control his life and ignore ideas and suggestion from friends and family. The case of Orgon and Tartuffe in the play shows the extremity of power and the impact that it brings to a person. The presence of money becomes a source of challenge that threatens the well-being of the character in question. In Tartuffe and A Doll House money is depicted as a provision that limits the achievement of joy in life.

The characters that have money in the two plays are far much placed from happiness as they struggle to manage the challenge that comes with having money. Torvald in A Doll House is forced to take care of Nora with a certain degree of concern that breeds discomfort. In Tartuffe, Orgon is challenged by Tartuffe and forced to conspire against his own family. After the truth is out, he is also exposed to the danger of answering to supposed acts of crime as witnessed by Tartuffe. Sexism and hypocrisy are facets only described by the conceptualization of money. The two would not exist if there was no money in the world. Nora, in A Doll House, is a character described by sexism in the society. Women have no capacity to earn as much as men and are therefore forced to follow the men’s lead. In Tartuffe, the character Tartuffe is a personification of hypocrisy given by the need to earn money and credit from Orgon. He depicts himself as a good act of religion only to realize that he is using Orgon as a source of money and credit. The case shows the extended impact of money and how it affects the relationship between characters and people in a real society. On the contrary, money is depicted entirely as a construct of power in Tartuffe while and Henrik Ibsen’s also describes money as a source of weakness. Nora is proud that she was able to raise money to support their trip with her husband to Italy. However, the debt she owes becomes a source of challenge and weakness as she has to succumb to the command of the lender. In Tartuffe, Orgon is entirely powerful and effort to be kicked down by Tartuffe is challenged by his strong identity.

In conclusion, the two plays show contradicting ideologies of money as both and an aspect that brings about power and a challenge that renders the holder weak. Money is a tool that describes different characters and their shared relations in the two plays. Predominantly, it is described as an element to place the characters in a less favorable position with regard to the severity of challenges. However, the fact that characters that hold money command the relations in the play show the shared value attached to money the universal goal to earn money.


  1. Ibsen, H. (2008). A Doll’s House. 1879. Ibsen: Four Major Plays, 1.
  2. Molière, J. B. (2011). Tartuffe. Larousse.

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