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As Moriele wrote, to be perfect is to be inhuman. This is clearly depicted in the comedy of Tartuffe why there is a general show of human flaws. These kinds of flaws are mainly depicted by the characters of Orgon and Madame Pernelle. These two are blind to Tartuffe ways of deceiving them thus showing how comedy is used in the viewing humans as essentially weak and folly ridden. These two characters show a major weakness in humans, which others mainly conmen use to their advantage, as a main theme in the play.
Over the ages, comedy has been used as a means of rectifying human pessimistic view that they are generally weak and folly ridden. Through the comedy play by Moliere's Tartuffe, he seeks out to show how hypocrisy, false gratifications and praise are portrayed. He relates the story to show how a hypocrite aims to destroy the happiness of a citizen who has received a guest into his house. In such instances there is a show of human weakness when he shows how religion is confounded with hypocrisy and upheld with warmth of religious sentiment which is shown in a character of hatred in the imposture in any shape.
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The character of Tartuffe is used as a religious hypocrite and also as a hustler and conman. He picks on Orgon as he is a new and gullible convert. This applies in the real world as such people who are new in religion or in any other kind professionalism for that matter, often fall prey to conmen. In understanding the purpose of Orgon and Madame Pernelle in the comedy, brings out humor to the audience as they are able to relate to the use of intellectual detachment. This was used, as at the present time in France religion was a very serious thing in the French society to be laughed about. In the present world, religion still plays a major role in our society and there has to be a way in which the vulnerability of people in religion is brought out in order to rectify human general weakness to falling prey to people in the name of religion.
The use of Orgon and Madame Pernelle on the day that Tartuffe plays a con game on them acts to show the vulnerability of people. They are the only people within the family that opt to buy what Tartuffe is selling and their gullibility weakens the threat of deception that Tartuffe would have used on them. It becomes therefore very easy to see and laugh at general weakness and folly ridden attitude of humans shown by the incongruity of Orgon and Tartuffe’s behavior. The gap created by their deviation from what is considered as norm by Trtuffe creates a major source of comedy and a delivery device for social comments.
There is a depiction of human flaw in the wanting of things in excess and also having obsession. This is clear theme as shown through the character of Tartuffe. He acts as a figure of the dangers of excess as he is depicted as being glutton. On the other hand Orgon is shown as being obsessive of Tartuffe that he loses his sense of reasoning and as a result he ends up losing his whole family. Cléante brings in a voice o reasoning when Orgon swears never to trust any other person again and will curse anyone who will say to be virtuous.
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Majority of people fall prey of conmen due to situations where they are given confidence by the conmen themselves. This is how they give chances to be conned as well depicted by Tartuffe in act 3 scene 3 “…I too could wish, as Heaven’s especial favor, To lay my soul quite open to your eyes And swear to you, the trouble that I made About those visits which your charms attract Does not result from any hatred toward you But rather from a passionate devotion And purest motives….” He shows his passion and lust to Elmire by throwing himself at her in the hope that his gesture of confidence in her mercies will inspire her to risk returning his advances. When Damis reports to Orgon of the advances that Tartuffe has made to Elmire, Tartuffe again shows a gamble where he asks Orgon to recognize all his sinfulness into believing every bad report that Damis may give (act 3, scene 6). For this to prove to be funny and thus categorized under comedy it appears only Orgon and Madame Pernelle fall prey to his schemes Madame Pernelle:
"I tell you that you're blest to have Tartuffe Dwelling, as my son's guest, beneath this roof;
That Heaven has sent him to forestall its wrath By leading you once more, to the true path;
That all he reprehends is reprehensible, And that you'd better heed him, and be sensible." (1.1.34)
There also is an instance where both Elmire and Tartuffe are trying to con each other. Elmire tries to toy with Tartuffe into revealing his hypocrisy while on the other hand Tartuffe thinks he is very convincing and effective.
There is also the depiction of human flaws such as shown by Tartuffe who sees himself as a religious figure though he is a hypocrite and Dorine id able to see that (1.1.23)"You see him as a saint. I'm far less awed; In fact, I see right through him. He's a fraud.” The religgious piety is what he uses best to conceal his selfish motives from the gullible Orgon.
Another human flaw as shown by Moriele in is comedy act of Tartuffe is blind faith. As seen in the magnitude of the influence of Tartuffe on Orgon to a point of destruction to Orgon’s family. This is shown through the case whereby Mariane is forced to marry Tartuffe against her will and wish, Damis is disinherited at once when he speaks ill of his father’s mentor, Elmire must on the other hand struggle against Tartuffe’s lust towards her, and finally Orgon comes to lose his soul and also his estate. In this view Moriele should be understood that he does not wish to show that misery is as a result of religious faith but rather that reasoning and common sense must also be employed in such instances. Orgon in this case becomes a fool as he does not utilize common sense and reasoning.
On the other hand Moriele uses this comedy and the effective use of Tartuffe to criticize the Augustinian Catholicism that condemned man and did not respect the senses of man and therefore in relation to the comedy also condemns Orgon to his fate. Moriele also uses comedy to criticize the culture where women were seen as second class. It is through the female characters in his comedy play especially Dorine and Elmire that he is able to show this criticism. They are seen to petition to Orgon to use his mind or mental faculties and thereby directly confront the situation.
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Tartuffe is used to show the kind of social masks that people wore in those times and also the present times. The reasoning, that if man could think reasonably then he could act morally, is a direct contradiction in this comedy as shown by Tartuffe. Tartuffe’s commitment to his own reasoning enables him to an extent; manipulate Orgon’s family and consequently Orgon’s commitment to reason and no use of common sense and any other human faculties lead to the down fall of his well being.
All these elements as depicted by Moriele in his comedy of Tartuffe show the relevance in today’s world whereby humans are shown to have flaws. It is also through this comedy that Moriele uses to correct the society and moderate human passions. Moriele uses the comedy’s bad situations to puts out a solution towards society and social problems. He warns on human error and hypocrisy which are found in humans with blind faith and no reasoning. The Tartuffe comedy acts as a critic comedy which educates and corrects human nature.
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