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Tartuffe: An Introduction


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Tartuffe: An Introduction

  2. 2. Characters are types.
  3. 3. Orgon Cleante Tartuffe Damis Mariane Elmire Dorine Madame Pernelle Valere
  4. 4. Plots favor ingenuity over plausibility.
  5. 5. Entertain and instruct.
  7. 7. Father = Authority.
  8. 8. Divine right of kings
  9. 9. God: mankind King: subjects Father: family
  11. 11. If the function of comedy is to correct men’s vices, I do not see why any should be exempt. . . . The most forceful lines of a serious moral statement are usually less powerful than those of satire; and nothing will reform most men better than the depiction of their faults. It is a vigorous blow to vices to expose them to public laughter. - Moliere, preface to Tartuffe
  12. 12. Vice Common Sense Tartuffe Dorine Orgon Cleante Elmire Officer (king) Mariane Damis Valere Mme. Pernelle
  13. 13. vs.
  14. 14. Who was offended? • The Catholic hierarchy • The French aristocracy • The Company of the Holy Sacrament (a religious secret society seeking to reform French Christianity)
  15. 15. Public performances of Tartuffe were banned for five years.
  16. 16. "...although it was found to be extremely diverting, the king recognized so much conformity between those that a true devotion leads on the path to heaven and those that a vain ostentation of some good works does not prevent from committing some bad ones, that his extreme delicacy to religious matters can not suffer this resemblance of vice to virtue, which could be mistaken for each other; although one does not doubt the good intentions of the author, even so he forbids it in public, and deprived himself of this pleasure, in order not to allow it to be abused by others, less capable of making a just discernment of it." King Louis XIV’s official statement
  17. 17. Moliere’s defense of comedy The comic is the outward and visible form that nature's bounty has attached to everything unreasonable, so that we should see, and avoid, it. To know the comic we must know the rational, of which it denotes the absence and we must see wherein the rational consists . . . incongruity is the heart of the comic . . . it follows that all lying, disguise, cheating, dissimulation, all outward show different from the reality, all contradiction in fact between actions that proceed from a single source, all this is in essence comic. Lettre sur la comédie de l'Imposteur (1667)