Book Review4 out of 5 stars to Tartuffe a play written in 1664 by Moli re I read this play as part of a course on Theatre and Drama several years ago I also acted in a staged version of this story I really enjoyed it, especially learning about the characters and story through the director s eyes and opinions The story is about a con artist who worms his way into a family s affections by claiming to be a religious man The father essentially offers his daughters hand in marriage to the main character, but over time, realizes something is not right It was a commentary on how Moliere felt about religion in the 17th century, especially how some people were using it as a way to look pious on the outside, but do whatever they wanted behind closed doors There s great sarcasm, wit and humor in the play, especially if you let yourself approach it in a comedic way, rather than get caught up on understanding all the background and setting Read it as though it weren t necessary about religion, focusing on the way a person can disguise their true intentions to achieving their goals A definite good one for people who want to sample some plays from over 300 years that are quite different in style from Chaucer, Shakespeare or Milton s waysFYI Read this years ago either as a kid or in college, but wrote up a review recentlyAbout MeFor those new to me or my reviews here s the scoop I read A LOT I write A LOT And now I blog A LOT First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at where you ll also find TV Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I ve visited all over the world And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who what when where and my pictures Leave a comment and let me know what you think Vote in the poll and ratings Thanks for stopping by. Tartuffe Imposter , written by French playwright Moliere in 1664, and first performed that same year It s a comedy, and even though it reads well, I imagine to be truly appreciated it would be better to see the stage production, and see these remarkable characters come to life It was banned shortly after the first production because it offended the Church and the upper class French society The Archbishop of Paris threatened to excommunicate anyone who read, watched, or performed in the play But it has survived the years with 21st century productions in Europe, Canada, Australia, and the United States. Mocking the HeavensAs I read this I was reminded most often of the god men of India of their scandals, of their dedicated followers who are so willingly duped, and of the politicians who pretend to be devoted for their own purposes.I can only imagine what parallel suggestion would have been easily engendered in the French minds as they sat through this devastating play.It is no surprise that there was such outage It is no surprise that it was banned for so long The device Moli re employs is too transparent, but entirely innocent Without once giving his game away in the text, he makes his intent entirely transparent ridicule the falsely pious Unfortunately, his audience did not take too well to being ridiculed Moli re s Plea to the AudienceIf the task of comedy is to correct the vices of mankind, I do not understand why some of those vices should be exempt In the State, the vice of hypocrisy is far dangerous than all the others and we have seen that the theater is a strong force for its correction The most beautiful phrases of a serious sermon are frequently less powerful than satire, and nothing alerts men effectively than the display of their vices Displaying vice to the mockery of men deals it a great blow Men put up with admonition but are loath to be mocked One might be will ing to be wicked one cannot bear to appear foolish.People attack me for putting pious language in the mouth of an impostor Well How could I fail to do this if I wanted to present accurately the character of a hypocrite It was enough, it seemed to me, to reveal the criminal motives that made him say these things and to have omitted those holy words that it would have been horrible to hear him misuse But, say they, at the beginning of the fourth act he uses a pernicious and casuistic argument Yet has not everyone heard such casuistry being used Does my comedy present anything new Who could believe that such widely detested behavior would influence anyone that I make it dangerous by presenting it on the stage, that it would receive some validity because it is presented by a scoundrel That does not seem possible, and the comedy of Tartuffe should be approved or all comedies bannedMock The Heavens but not us Eight days after this play was banned, actors presented to the court a play called Scaramouche the Hermit, and the king, leaving the performance, said to the prince I would like to know why those who were so scandalized by Moli re s comedy say nothing about Scaramouche To which the prince replied The reason is that the comedy of Scaramouche mocks Heaven and religion, which those gentlemen do not care about, but Moli re s play mocks those gentlemen themselves, and they cannot endure that. When I read this play for the first time, I had a strange feeling that I d seen it somewhere before Cretinous Orgon can t understand what s obvious to the audience and everyone else in the play, namely that the slimy cleric Tartuffe is not only trying to ruin him, but also to get into his wife s pants He seems to have neatly engineered his own downfall when hey presto a deus ex machina saves the day It s very funny.After a little thought, I realized that this is the basic structure of several of Frank Oz s films, e.g Little Shop of Horrors, In Out and his 2004 remake of The Stepford Wives In each case, the completely illogical ending only heightens the preceding satire Any chance of Oz directing a Muppett version of Tartuffe I can just see Miss Piggy as Elmire Tartuffe, Or The Imposter Is A Comedy In Five Acts And In Verse By Moli Re, And One Of His Most Famous Plays It Was Condemned And Banned From The Stage For Five Years By The Outcry Of The D Vots , Who Were Very Influential At The Kings Court In Moli Re S Day Tartuffe Is A Satire On Religious Hypocrisy The Religious Fraud Tartuffe, A Penniless Scoundrel, Worms His Way Into The Rich Merchant S Orgon S Affections And Household, Blinding The Master Of The House With His Religious Devotion And Counterfeit Zeal He Almost Succeeds In His Attempts To Seduce Orgon S Wife, Marry His Daughter And Drive Away His Son Before The Final UnmaskingThe Translation Into English Verse Of One Of Moli Re S Most Masterful And Most Popular Plays A Continuous Delight From Beginning To End Richard Eberhart Introduction By Richard Wilbur While reading the Chekhov play Ivanoff recently, I became curious about why one character told another not to be a Tartuffe I Googled and discovered that in French and English, calling anyone a Tartuffe means that they are a hypocrite, especially one who pretends to be overly pious And I learned that the term comes from the play of the same name by Moliere So here we are with my first Stray Cat book of 2016 one of those books that curl purring around your ankles until you simply have to read it Sometimes I make lists of these books and save them for later, and other times like now I read them immediately.At first I thought that the way the play was written would be a distraction Here is the line from Wiki that made me feel that way The play is written entirely in 1,962 twelve syllable lines alexandrines of rhyming couplets. An entire play written in rhyme I was afraid I would be reading sing song the whole time, but I was also very curious about how such a thing would work Imagine how hard it would be to shape your thoughts to fit that formula and still have everything your characters are saying make sense As it turned out, I was enchanted from the moment the curtain rose on Act 1 I did need a few scenes to properly sort out who was who in the cast of characters, but once I managed that, I was able to relax and enjoy the story of Orgon and his family and the way their lives are affected by Tartuffe Orgon had offered Tartuffe a home after meeting him in church, and Tartuffe settled in so well he was able to pull the wool over his host s eyes about many things The other family members don t like him, but Orgon refuses to listen to a single word against the man who has become his guide, hisconfidante, his closest advisor Orgon even decides to allow Tartuffe to marry his daughter, even though she is in love with Valere and hates Tartuffe.The play moves fast it is funny, even bawdy at times, and makes a great many excellent points about the differences between appearance and reality My two favorite characters were Dorine and Cleante Dorine was Orgon s daughter s maid, described in the cast list as the impertinent maid She certainly did speak her mind she was a hoot Cleante is Orgon s brother in law, and was the main voice of reason in the household Not that Orgon listened to him at all, but Cleante tried.This was an extremely controversial play when it first appeared in 1664 The Wiki article I read says that this version of Tartuffe was the only one published and was the third time Moliere had re written his play This version was first performed in 1669 I can see that even this version would put a burr under the saddle of many people of those times, most especially if they felt it to be a mirror they were looking into and not simply a play they were being entertained by Moliere was lucky to have the King s protection, and there is a bit of a speech in the final act which refers to the wisdom of the King, how he sees the truth and cannot be fooled At the very least he could recognize immense talent, even genius, when he saw it. Conned by a Charlatan18 May 2013 Isn t it interesting that there are some sectors of society that get really upset if you poke fun at them, or even criticise them in anyway Normally this happens because these particular people are well aware that what they are doing is wrong and that they are simply playing on people s stupidity to get away with what is little than fraud Much of the offence that is generated is not so much offence at the fun, but rather that what the person are doing is ripping the veil off of their fraud and exposing it for the world to see This is what happened to Moliere when he wrote this play, and the thing was that he was not actually poking fun at the church but rather at certain fraudsters that go around scamming people out of their hard earned savings for their own personal benefit There have been people like this this throughout the ages and many writers have laid into these types of people particularly hard However the church itself ended up being quite offended at Moliere s play which actually says something about the church of the day and put enormous pressure on the king to pretty much ban it Tartuffe is about this religious guru who becomes involved with a family and many of the family members see him as this wonderful person who is bringing wisdom and salvation to the house However, there are some who see right through his lies, though through his silvered tongue Tartuffe is able to alienate these people However, when pretty much everybody wakes up to the fraudster that Tartuffe is, he pulls another trick, which involves confiscating all of the family s property As I have mentioned, there have been fraudsters like this throughout the ages, and the church knows very well they exist However it seems that the church really does not appreciate criticism in any form In a way it seems to be offensive to turn religion into a joke, even if they joke doesn t actually involve them The thing is that people like Moliere are not turning religion into a joke but rather exposing how certain people use religion to entrap segments of society and pretty much enslave them Religion is, and always has been, about control, and the problem is that when certain people get into positions of power, and they do not necessarily need to be single fraudsters like Tartuffe, they could be members of an orthodox Christian denomination, they use this power to feather their own nest However, the idea of salvation and life after death is something that concerns us all, and due to the veil that has fallen down between God and ourselves, many of us believe that salvation is not certain It is when we let that belief creep in that certain people are then able to hold our salvation for ransom The thing about Christianity is that salvation is assured, which means that people cannot actually hold the threat of excommunication over you with regards to your actions Granted, there is a moral code, but the idea is that genuine Christians will live by that moral code rather than having that code forced upon them It simply comes down to loving your neighbour as yourself, and loving the Lord your God However, people don t seem to necessarily understand this, and many people, with good intentions and we all know where good intentions lead us to try to pass judgement on other s actions Okay, there is always accountability, and with us being fallen human beings, we are always going to be led astray I know I have , however we must always remember that Jesus said that we should look to ourselves and examine our actions before we go off an pass judgement on other people Further, accountability should always be a two way street Being accountable to somebody while that person is not being accountable to you is a fast way of becoming enslaved to that person. What Will you find no difference betweenHypocrisy and genuine devoutness And will you treat them both alike, and payThe self same honour both to masks and facesSet artifice beside sincerity,Confuse the semblance with reality,Esteem a phantom like a living person,And counterfeit as good as honest coin Reread for school Surprisingly, I liked it even the second time around.Also Dorine is amazing, all rightDorineThen what s your plan about this other match MarianeTo kill myself, if it is forced upon me DorineGood That s a remedy I hadn t thought of Just die, and everything will be all right This medicine is marvellous, indeed It drives me mad to hear folk talk such nonsense First Read September 20153 1 2 I don t know why I m weirded out that I enjoyed this one. As a Christian myself, I read Tartuffe with close precision Taking apart each verse, I tried to figure out if the play was really an attack on Christianity and my faith However, after close examination of the play, I found that the play doesn t really try to attack the Christian faith Rather, it tries extremely hard to avoid such an attack, and instead simply targets the hypocrites in the Church at the time Many parts of the play show the respect that Moliere had for religion An example of this is when Cleante is speaking to Tartuffe He says, No, no let s simply do what Heaven ordains, And let no other thoughts perplex our brains IV.1.43 44 Here, Cleante is not making fun of religion Instead, he is trying to emphasize the most important aspects of Christianity On the other hand, Moliere attacks hypocrites by attacking the character of Tartuffe in his play Tartuffe says, No one shall know our joys, save us alone, And there s no evil till the act is known IV 5.117 205 Here, Tartuffe twists the teachings of the Bible around He s saying that if nobody catches them committing the sin, then it s not considered a sin I found Tartuffe to represent a lot of problems in both the Church and the world By portraying Tartuffe as a hypocrite and as an antagonist, Moliere effectively attacks the problem in society I agree with Moliere in that even today, there are many hypocrites in the many religions and cultures However, hypocrites only have power and influence when a person gives it to them I believe that as people become aware of the people around them, nobody will fall into the trap of hypocrites, who only do things to suit their selfish needs. 3.5 I haven t read many plays, not including, Shakespeare s work, but I can safely say that I enjoyed this one It was humorous, fun and the characters were very well developed even in such a short play My only problem was with the language there were some lines I just couldn t really grasp the meaning of Luckily, the edition I had, contained lots of annotations, otherwise, I think I d have some trouble understanding what was going on But, otherwise, it was a very good read with an interesting outlook on religion and hypocrisy I d recommend it, if you re looking for a short comedy Definitely one worth noting down.
Jean Baptiste Poquelin, also known by his stage name, Moli re, was a French playwright and actor who is considered one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature Among Moli re s best known dramas are Le Misanthrope, The Misanthrope , L Ecole des femmes The School for Wives , Tartuffe ou l Imposteur, Tartuffe or the Hypocrite , L Avare ou l cole du mensonge The Miser , Le Malade
- 176 pages
- Le Tartuffe, ou L’Imposteur
- 20 August 2017 Molière