Tartuffe or The Hypocrite is one of the most famous theatrical comedies. It was written by Moliere. The play was banned for five years because it was a satire on religious hypocrisy. The whole play is set in Orgon’s house. A trickster tries to fool the middle-aged Orgon. Tartuffe successfully tricks Orgon so he signs him over the deed of the house. Moliere very well moved further away from the elementary structure developed from French farce. Besides that, the structure is also different in that the main protagonist does not appear for the first two acts. The characters of the play: Tartuffe, Orgon and Elmire are thought to be one of the greatest theatrical roles.
The play opens with Madame Pernelle. She decides to leave the house of her son Orgon because their behavior she finds decadent and immoral. Also, she thinks her grandson Damis is a spoiled child, and Mariane, her granddaughter as too frail. Only the new guest in their home, Tartuffe, deserves her admiration and approval. Orgon invited Tartuffe to stay in his house because he is fascinated by Tartuffe’s religiousness and devotion. Other members of the family think Tartuffe is a liar and a fraud, but they cannot persuade Madame Pernelle to see him in a different way.
When Madame Pernelle leaves, Dorine the servant, and Cleante Orgon’s brother in law, debate how to convince Orgon that Tartuffe is manipulating him. Damis is worried that Orgon will not allow Mariane to marry his son Valere although he already approved the marriage.
Cleante begs Orgon to see Tartuffe’s true nature but Orgon only admires Tartuffe’s humility and pious poverty. Cleante starts asking questions about Mariane’s marriage but Orgon ignores him.
In the second act, Orgon has an announcement. Tartuffe will marry his daughter Mariane. Mariane is obedient but surprised. Dorine begs Orgon to change his mind, suggesting the age difference between the two of them. Orgon is irritated by her so he sends Dorine away.
Orgon leaves so Dorine tries to talk with obedient Mariane. She reminds Mariane about her love for Valere. But Mariane is feeling obliged to respect father’s wishes. Valere enters. He has heard about Orgon’s intention. Valere and Mariane start to fight but Dorine calms them down. All three of them agree to try to change Tartuffe and Orgon’s plan.
In third act, Dorine says to Valere to put down his strong emotions so he does not ruin their plan. Tartuffe lusts for Elmire so Dorine will let Elmire control him.