English Class Essay, About A Play "Tartuffe" Written By Moliere In 1664, Intro To Theatre Paper On Tartuffe Moliere

932 words - 4 pages

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Introduction to Theatre
May 01, 2017
In this vigorous play, “Tartuffe” written by Molière in 1664, can undoubtedly be understood as an attack on religion because the main character is portrayed as a corrupted holy man breaking all the religious laws in order to gain power. The clergy banned the performance of this play because they considered that it condemned religious beliefs. During the 17th century France, the Catholic Church was very powerful, therefore following the holy orders was necessary. It was believed this play could influence others to go against religion. Tartuffe was a religious man that manipulated others in order to benefit himself and gain wealth. While this play can definitely have different opinions, I believe that this play was not an attack on religion, it was written and acted to make a profit out of it, people were hungry for money and theatre was very popular at this time, this was the best way to make a living while entertaining others. This play exemplifies blind faith, the insincerity of a saintly person who would never be perceived as a liar. Moliere knew that this play would create many scandals and he would definitely gain popularity.
First, it is foolish for Moliere’s critics to even see Tartuffe himself as a symbol of religion. It was very evident that he was just an opportunist looking to benefit himself from unwise people, willing to act like a whole different person to get what he wanted and it's truly Oregon’s fault for letting him in and allow him to take advantage of his money. Oregon was a wealthy member of the upper class; he was supposed to act as an example to others, a smart powerful man but instead, he was portrayed as a complete fool believing Tartuffe was a pure man with good intentions when it was clear his plans were malicious. This play demonstrates that it's one’s fault for becoming weak with blind faith, we aren’t capable enough of realizing the truth even when its right in front of us because we rather believe what we think is correct. One of the leading characters, Oregon is resisted to believe the truth, he chooses to believe that holy love is correct therefore without knowing he justifies Tartuffe's wickedness. Cleante is Oregon’s brother in law, he attempts to convince Oregon about the truth but it was worthless because he was sightless from others beliefs, in the play, “Tartuffe” Cleante has a conversation with Oregon, explaining him the difference between hypocrisy and genuine piety, “There’s true and false in piety, as in bravery, / So those whose hearts are truly pure and lowly. Don’t make a flashy show of being holy. (Moliere 224)” This undoubtedly proves that this play wasn’t an attack on religion but an attack against hypocrites that pretend to be saintly in order to take advantage of the vulnerable people. Tartuffe wasn’t a holy man, he was an unmasked criminal, an opportunist that wanted to live off from people’s money.
Simultaneously, during the early 17th century, the church was very powerful thus religion was very important, the society had various expectations they had to follow, they had to obey the holy orders and act like a divine man. The play “Tartuffe” was banned from public performances due to the strong objections of the clergy who considered the play an attack to religion but it’s clear that this play doesn’t make fun of religion rather those who manipulate religion to get what they want. As stated before, Tartuffe is just a first-class villain, a charlatan that pretends to devote himself to religion. Oregon has an argument with Dorine, defending Tartuffe and going against her beliefs that they have a manipulator living at home. In Molière’s play, one of the leading characters, Oregon states, “He lost his fortune, as he says himself, because he cared for Heaven alone, and so was careless of his interests here below.” (Moliere 228) This example plainly shows that Oregon wanted to be blinded from the truth when he had all the evidence on his hands to figure out that Tartuffe was an impostor. This play is attempting to help others because in our daily life we are going to meet pretenders that will say anything to get what they want. Moliere was not making fun of religion because in his writing he wrote about a corrupted man that pretended to be holy but in reality, he was just a criminal that used religion to gain power.
To conclude, this uprising temper against the play, “Tartuffe” was excessive because it was obvious that the author Moliere was reproaching those who used the religion language to gain authority and not religion itself. Moliere seems to have the same objective as the church, to fight for moral values and justice. Most of the characters in this play are against Tartuffe and they are fighting to reveal his true identity. Instead of going against religion, this play shows that religion is glorious and necessary in life. During the 17th century there were many hypocrites rising to power and now, three hundred years later, we still encounter many similar situations. People are very ambitious for power, they will say anything, they will act like the most purified person in the earth to make you fall into their trap. We have to cultivate true devotion and avoid dishonesty because if we don’t then we are going to face the consequences.
Works Cited
Molière, and Richard Wilbur. Tartuffe: A Comedy in Five Acts. Bilingual ed. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1997.

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