Tartuffe - The play Tartuffe by Moliere narrates the story...

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The play Tartuffe by Moliere narrates the story of how it is possible for a scoundrel and a hypocrite – the title character – to disguise himself as a pious man of religion. By successfully emulating religious behavior, Tartuffe is able to charm his way into the house and win the favor of Orgon, a local rich man. Orgon, to his discredit, is unable to see through Tartuffe's duplicity, and as a consequence, nearly loses all his possessions to the scoundrel. Through the comparisons presented within the play, Moliere weaves a tale against the hypocrisy of political and religious figures of authority present in his day. It is important to pay particular note to the vehicle of satire employed by Moliere. In fact, the satire contained in this play made its author the target for 17th century religious authorities. After all, the main audience of this play was the Parisian elite in the late 17th century. This audience of the times would have presumably understood that Tartuffe had an underlying critique of both bad kingship and lying religious leaders. The authority figures who criticized the play evidently understood this as well. At the time of Moliere’s death, he was originally denied burial on consecrated ground due to his decision to speak out against religious leaders. This is why Tartuffe should be read as a criticism of authority that uses the vehicle of satire to comment on religious hypocrisy. In addition to the provided historical facts, literary elements that express this theme – imagery, point of view, and symbolism – can be drawn from the text
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This essay was uploaded on 04/16/2008 for the course LITR 5C taught by Professor Tucom during the Winter '06 term at UCSD.

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Tartuffe - The play Tartuffe by Moliere narrates the story...

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