University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Moliere’s Portrayal of Religion and Religiosity
Moliere’s Tartuffe is about a man named Tartuffe who is a beggar and holy man that was recently taken in by a Christian man named, Orgon. Tartuffe has Orgon fooled, but the entire rest of Orgon’s family sees Tartuffe as a hypocritical, self-righteous con artist. Orgon becomes obsessed with Tartuffe and would rather talk and hear about him than his own sick wife. Even though Moliere rewrote this play twice, there are many reasons that the church might still be concerned about the hypocrisy that he used toward Christianity in this play. In 1666 Tartuffe was banned, a play many found offensive because of its assault on church hypocrisy.
Many people of the church could still be concerned, due to Moliere’s portrayal of Christianity and how it is almost mocked in this play. Allot of the comedy Moliere portrays is intense focus on Orgon as example of a certain kind of traditional Christian. He isn’t the ‘only’ type of Christian in this play, but the way he is portrayed is almost in a hypocritical manner. Orgon is so eager to believe Tartuffe, mainly due to the fact that Tartuffe is professing to be another type of Christian. Moliere regards the type of Christian that Tartuffe is as insane.
The way mankind is portrayed on behalf of Orgon is almost as depraved as a result of Original Sin, so therefore Orgon has to be subjected, for his own good, to somewhat of a dictatorial control by divinely appointed authorities, or the King. Moliere portrays Orgon as a good Christian man, who is taken advantage of and ultimately almost loses everything because he is willing to take Tartuffe in and treat him as if he were family. The reason the church should be concerned here is the fact that Moliere portrays the way Tartuffe is insane and manipulates the good Christian man.
He shows Orgon, the good Christian man as blind to all the wrong, and coming out as essentially the “loser” and the insane Christian and manipulator, Tartuffe, comes out with all of Orgon’s belongings. After reading Moliere’s Tartuffe I now can see how the church would be heavily concerned with how Moliere portrays Christianity as ‘the nice guy finishes last’ with relation to Orgon and Christianity. The church could also see the hypocrisy by the portrayal of Tartuffe as a “religious con man” or “religious fraud. ”