Tartuffe Critical Thinking Samples
In Molière’s Tartuffe, several social conventions are assumed. Orgon, who is the father of the house in the play, has a major role in the decisions of his daughter. This social convention portrays the use of power to influence the actions of other people, and this is reflected in the second scene of the second act in the play. This discussion will focus on Orgon’s use of power and how this scene reflects on both political and social issues during the age of Enlightenment.
Throughout the play, Orgon’s use of power is reflected; however, it is eminent in the second act of the second. In fact, this scene is very significant in bringing out the message in the play. It is in this scene that Orgon expresses his intention to marry Mariane, his daughter, to Tartuffe, a religious hypocrite who is living with Orgon’s family. Rather than giving Mariane a chance to make her decisions about marriage, Orgon makes this decision due to his obsession with Tartuffe. Dorine, Mariane’s maid, who was eavesdropping on the conversion between father and daughter, tries to advise Orgon on the consequences of marrying his daughter to Tartuffe. She claims that the immense age difference would lead to infidelity from Mariane’s side. However, Orgon’s compulsion to Tartuffe makes him ignore Dorine advice. In essence, the father had all the power to make decisions for his daughters in regards to marriage. Orgon was aware that Valere and Mariane were in love, and it would only be fair to let them marry. However, due to the Tartuffe’s manipulation and the power he had as the father of the house forced him to make this decision (Act II, Scene II).
In addition, this scene gives much insight into the political and social issues during the Enlightenment period. Daughters were expected to be submissive to their fathers and obey their advice and decisions without objection. Mariane remained silent when Orgon was expressing his intentions as a sign of respect for his father. Orgon made it clear that his decision was final. Additionally, during the Enlightenment period, it was okay to challenge the decisions made by the boss. For instance, Dorine challenges and mocks the decisions that Orgon makes pertaining to the marriage. One would conclude that this represented a lack of respect for the boss and Orgon should have dismissed her from serving him. However, his does not happen, and Dorine continues to argue with Orgon as Mariane watches (Act II, Scene II).
Additionally, giving in to the religious hypocrite, Tartuffe reflects much on the societal changes during the age of enlightenment. People were convinced that the only way to live well and in accordance with the wishes of God, they had only to do what the Church approved as right. As a result, the church commanded great power in society. It emerges to be a reason Orgon was gullible to the tricks used by Tartuffe to a point of even planning to marry his daughter to him (Act II, Scene II). The society was so into the dictations of the church, and this created an opportunity for people like Tartuffe to use religion for personal gain.
In conclusion, the play presents the social conventions practiced during the Enlightenment. More specifically, the use of power is amplified, and the second scene of the second act in the play sets it out. In the scene, Orgon forcibly plans to marry his daughter Mariane to marry Tartuffe despite her love for Valere. Mariane, in her bid to show respect and please her father, gives in by, not objecting, which was in line with the societal expectations. Tartuffe’s manipulation over Orgon reflects on the gullibility of the society in regards to matters of religion during the Enlightenment age. Without doubt, the Molière brings out the religious hypocrisy and the use of power in the play in a cagy manner.
Molière, and Ranjit Bolt. Tartuffe. London: Oberon, 2002. Internet resource.
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