Moliere’s Tartuffe: Is He Really a Hypocrite?

“Tartuffe” is Moliere’s first comedy, where he criticized the vices of the clergy and nobility. In his work, the French comedian harshly criticized such human vices as meanness, hypocrisy, stupidity, selfishness, cowardice, and greed. The central character, Tartuffe, appears to the viewer as a being devoid of any human dignity. The fake saint is the repository of a whole host of vices: he lusts after the wife of his benefactor, he does not hesitate to rob the one who sheltered him. Finally, he is not afraid of either earthly power or divine judgment, sinning both before people and before God. Hypocrisy is not his only vice, but it is brought to the fore, and other negative traits reinforce and emphasize this feature.

The main driving force of the hero is the desire for profit. The play opens with a family conflict, where the viewer gets acquainted with the repulsive nature of Tartuffe. Before the saint’s appearance in the house of Orgon, harmony and mutual understanding reigned there, but his arrival destroyed almost everything. Tartuffe is a very subtle psychologist who carefully takes the techniques already learned about Orgon to lure him into his trap and get his property. Thus, the desire to get his hands on the entire rich inheritance of Orgon motivates him to hypocrisy.

As the plot develops, Tartuffe realizes that his deception and hypocrisy are obvious. However, he does not remove his mask even at this moment. Tartuffe is not afraid of hostility towards him from the rest of the household because all the deception is directed at Orgon. Tartuffe carefully guides his benefactor to the necessary decisions that fully correspond to his insidious plans. He sets Orgon against his son, as a result of which, the father kicks his son out of the house, also depriving him of his inheritance. Moreover, he breaks off the engagement of Mariane and Valère to marry her himself and take her dowry; in the end, playing on the gullibility and fear of Orgon, Tartuffe obtains permission for all Orgon’s property, as well as a box with valuable political documents. Thus, despite the awareness of his hypocrisy, Tartuffe is confidently moving towards the goal.

Therefore, Tartuffe is an inveterate hypocrite, which is manifested in a large number of his actions. He usually hides behind religion, pretends to be a saint, not believing in anything, and secretly manages his dark deeds. Moliere believes that hypocrisy is one of the most dangerous flaws of all time, and in his play, he mocks this vice, thereby inflicting a devastating blow on it.

Removal Request
This essay on Moliere’s Tartuffe: Is He Really a Hypocrite? was written by a student just like you. You can use it for research or as a reference for your own work. Keep in mind, though, that a proper citation is necessary.
Request for Removal

You can submit a removal request if you own the copyright to this content and don't want it to be available on our website anymore.

Send a Removal Request