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Tartuffe By Molière (Book, Summary, Book Review, Online Reading, Download, PDF)

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Tartuffe, or the impostor, or the hypocrite (/ tɑːrtʊf, -tuːf /; French: Tartuffe, ou l'Imposteur, pronounced [taʁtyf u lɛpɔstœʁ]), first performed in 1664, is one of the most famous theatrical comedies of Molière The characters of Tartuffe, Elmire and Orgon are considered among the best classical theater roles.The Orgon family is up in arms because Orgon and his mother have fallen under the influence of Tartuffe, a pious fraud (and a vagabond before Orgon's help). Tartuffe claims to be pious and speak with divine authority, and Orgon and his mother no longer take any action without first consulting him.Tartuffe's antics do not deceive the rest of the family or his friends; they hate him Orgon raises the bets when he announces that he will marry Tartuffe with his daughter Mariane (already engaged with Valère). Mariane feels very upset with this news, and the rest of the family realizes how deeply Tartuffe has gotten into the family.In an effort to show Orgon how horrible Tartuffe really is, the family devises a plan to trap Tartuffe and confess to Elmire (Orgon's wife) his desire for her. As a pious man and a guest, he should not have those feelings for the lady of the house, and the family hopes that after that confession, Orgon will throw Tartuffe out of the house. In fact, Tartuffe tries to seduce Elmire, but his interview is interrupted when Orgon's son, Damis, who has been eavesdropping, is no longer able to control his boiling indignation and jumps out of hiding to denounce Tartuffe.Tartuffe is surprised at first, but recovers very well. When Orgon enters the room and Damis triumphantly tells him what happened, Tartuffe uses reverse psychology and accuses himself of being the worst sinner:
Oui, mon frère, je suis a méchant, a coupable.
A malheureux pécheur tout plein d'iniquité
(Yes, my brother, I am bad, guilty.
A miserable sinner full of iniquity) (III.vi).
Orgon is convinced that Damis was lying and banished him from the house. Tartuffe even gets Orgon to order that, to teach Damis a lesson, Tartuffe should be with Elmire more than ever. As a gift to Tartuffe and additional punishment to Damis and the rest of his family, Orgon signs all his worldly possessions to Tartuffe.
In a later scene, Elmire resumes the position and challenges Orgon to witness a meeting between her and Tartuffe. Orgon, always convinced easily, decides to hide under a table in the same room, sure that Elmire is wrong. Listen that Elmire resists the very advanced advances of Tartuffe. When Tartuffe has incriminated himself beyond all help and is dangerously close to raping Elmire, Orgon comes out from under the table and orders Tartuffe to leave his house.But this astute guest means to stay, and Tartuffe finally shows his hand. It turns out that before, before the events of the work, Orgon had admitted before Tartuffe that he had a box of incriminating letters (written by a friend, not by him). Tartuffe had taken over this box and now tells Orgon that he (Orgon) will be the one to leave. Tartuffe takes his temporary license and the Orgon family tries to figure out what to do. Very soon, Monsieur Loyal appears with a message from Tartuffe and the court itself: they must move out of the house because now it belongs to Tartuffe. Dorine mocks the name of Monsieur Loyal, mocking his false loyalty. Even Madame Pernelle, who had refused to believe anything about Tartuffe, even in the face of the fact that her son was seeing him, has been convinced this time of Tartuffe's duplicity.
As soon as Monsieur Loyal leaves, Valère comes with the news that Tartuffe has denounced Orgon for helping and helping a traitor by keeping the incriminating letters and that Orgon is about to be arrested. Before Orgon can flee, Tartuffe arrives with an officer, but to his surprise, the agent arrests him. The officer explains that the enlightened King Louis XIV, who is not mentioned by name, learned of the injustices that were taking place in the house and, dismayed by Tartuffe's betrayal of Orgon, ordered the arrest of Tartuffe; It turns out that Tartuffe has a long criminal record and has often changed his name to avoid being caught. As a reward for Orgon's previous good services, the King not only forgives him for keeping the letters, but also invalidates the writing that gave Tartuffe the possession of the house and all of Orgon's possessions. The whole family, thanks to their lucky stars, has escaped the mortification of Orgon's potential dishonor and dispossession. The drama ends well, and Orgon announces the upcoming wedding of Valère and Mariane. The surprising final turn, in which everything is straightened by the unexpected benevolent intervention of the hitherto unknown King, is considered a notable example of the classic theatrical plot Deus ex machina.

Written by Molière
Date premiered 1664
Original language French
Genre Comedy
Setting Orgon's house in Paris, 1660s