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Drama

The Development of the Character of Orgon in Tartuffe

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

Hypocrisy is a character trait, and to some it ‘s clear Tartuffe is called a hypocrite right from the start. In Molière’s Tartuffe, the central character, a man named Orgon, has been completely brainwashed and taken advantage of by the title character, a manipulative and “holy man”. Tartuffe insinuates himself into Orgon’s household; he appeals to Orgon’s desire to be a good, upstanding, and pious man by appearing to be the same. Tartuffe’s manipulations are not hard to miss and are evident to everyone in the play except to Orgon, even the reader can clearly see his intentions. Throughout the play Tartuffe portrays his religion to manipulate Orgon, because of his manipulations Orgon is blinded by the truth of Tartuffe’s character. Under the circumstances, in an effort to do a kind favor he jeopardizes his family and himself.

As one reads through the play the reader will realize that almost every character despises Tartuffe, expect Orgon and his mother Madame Pernelle. In Act I, Scene 1, the reader can see that the mother is defending Tartuffe and making it clear that everyone should respect him. Here is an example of the maid Dorine expressing how she feels about the hypocrite Tartuffe “Surely it is a shame and disgrace / To see this man usurp the master’s place — / To see this beggar [… ] behave / As if the house were his / And we his slaves’ (11). Mostly everyone in the household agrees with what the maid has said. It is clear that in the beginning of the play that not everyone is pleased of Tartuffe’s presence as much as Orgon and his mother.

Orgon, an aging man with a domineering mother, grown children, and a younger wife, is seeking a way to preserve control in his household. Tartuffe fulfills his desire and this is where his manipulations begin, as he sees through Orgon’s eyes and takes advantage right away. Although characters in the play warn him about Tartuffe’s actions and intentions. Orgon denies what they say to him and defends him. In a short essay titled “Relationship between Orgon and Tartuffe” B.Early says, “Orgon does not want to believe in Tartuffe’s greed, or think that he is being used by him in any way. Orgon defends Tartuffe when saying, “If you could only know him as I do, you would be his true disciple, too, Act I, Scene 5”. Clearly Orgon is obsessed with Tartuffe and will deny any negative thing about him.

Orgon’s brother in-law Cèlante is the only person in the household that is trying to get everyone to view things with calm and reason. As well as everyone else he dislikes Tartuffe and believes he is using Orgon to get what he wants and is trying to get Orgon to open his eyes and see the truth. In the play Cleante has a short conversation with Orgon and tells him, “He’s a fraud, this man whom you adore” Act 1, Scene 5. Orgon responds by defending Tartuffe and telling Cèlante that he is lying and that if he only knew him as he did. He also tells him that he should be more like him and follow his steps, which ironically is not the write thing.

Tartuffe in the play can be seen as smart character because he is easily opened up to Orgon’s house and able to ask for almost anything he wants. The reason why he is able to do this is because he uses religion to as a dupe. Orgon being a gullible religious man believes him and takes him under his wing and this is his initial start of Tartuffe’s evil schemes. In Early’s essay she also mentions that Tartuffe is evil character and imitates about being religious by saying, “Tartuffe claims to be a religious figure, and Orgon believes he is protecting his home from sin. However, it is explained that Tartuffe uses Orgon and his money, displaying his true character, which is one of greed and deceit”. Greed and deceit define Tartuffe and it shows throughout the play, the only person who does not see this is Orgon and continues to please Tartuffe with any request he asks of him. Tartuffe is the image of a hypocrite who is willing to use false piety and religious speeches to get the attention and generosity of people around him. On the other hand, Orgon is the type of man that is easily impressed because he does not have a strong personality. Once Tartuffe gains his trust, Orgon seems to be willing to act under hypocrite’s guidance.

Tartuffe the villain saw a weakness in Orgon and saw what he could do with with his evil actions and this quote best describes Tartuffe, “Men in general judge more from appearances than from reality. All men have eyes, but few have the gift of penetration.” That quote by Nicollo Machiavelli is simply defined as, what you see is not always what you get and few men have the gift of being able to see through an appearance. Tartuffe having this villain ability saw his victim was scheming throughout the play and was ruining the family as he brainwashed Orgon.

Towards the end of the play there is a scene where Dorine is trying to convince Orgon that he is playing him like a guitar and that he needs to realize that he is being used and manipulated. During this time in the play Elimire sets a trap so her husband can witness firsthand evil intentions of Tartuffe. At this time the reader can hint that this will finally expose Tartuffe and his evil machinations. When Dorine and Orgon nearly get into a physical altercation, Damis is expelled, and Cleante is disregarded. Just Elmire succeeds. She stows away Orgon under a table while professing to play alongside Tartuffe’s advances. When Orgon witnesses Tartuffe’s foul play firsthand it takes him some time to acknowledge it. Elmire, at this point, has so little confidence in her significant other that she starts to think he is going to remain under the table and give Tartuffe a chance to violate her. The defining moment in the play is when Orgon turns out and faces Tartuffe. Tartuffe, instead of acknowledging that he has been caught red handed, he states that he will have Orgon’s property. Since he currently controls Orgon’s property, he masterminds to have Orgon’s family expelled. Just the ruler’s considerate intercession spares Orgon’s family and Tartuffe is captured.

At the end of play the King gives Orgon’s final lesson. Tartuffe’s ruses and Orgon’s reaction to them have carried the entire family to the edge of a metaphorical bluff. Orgon himself is prepared to bounce by running, similarly as his companion has done, and his family is there to help him. Notwithstanding, the official’s appearance with the dandified Tartuffe is just an evil deception. The ruler’s activities fill in for instance of how a genuine dad should think about his kids. The outcome is that Orgon is taken back to himself, no longer under the spell of a strict conman, yet came back to the sensible man he had been before Tartuffe’s impact.

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