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February 25, 2018



by N@ncy


Definition tartuffe:

  1. A person under the cover of a profound religious
  2. devotion and virtue tries to seduce
  3. his followers (entourage) for his own profit.


Character Description
Orgon Head of the house and husband of Elmire, he is blinded by admiration for Tartuffe.
Tartuffe Houseguest of Orgon, hypocritical religious devotee who attempts to seduce Elmire and foil Valère’s romantic quest.
Valère The young romantic lead, who struggles to win the hand of his true love, Orgon’s daughter Mariane.
Madame Pernelle Mother of Orgon; grandmother of Damis and Mariane
Elmire Wife of Orgon, step-mother of Damis and Mariane
Dorine Family housemaid, who tries to help expose Tartuffe and help Valère.
Cléante Brother of Elmire, brother-in-law of Orgon
Mariane Daughter of Orgon, the fiancée of Valère and sister of Damis
Damis Son of Orgon; and brother of Mariane
Laurent Servant of Tartuffe (non-speaking character)
Argas Friend of Orgon who was anti-Louis XIV during the Fronde (mentioned but not seen).
Flipote Servant of Madame Pernelle (non-speaking character)
Monsieur Loyal A bailiff
A King’s Officer/The Exempt An officer of the king


Dramatic irony:

  1. M. Orgon is “blind”.
  2. He thinks Tartuffe will help him attain a place in heaven
  3. through pious devotion.
  4. Orgon offers Tartuffe a place in his home,
  5. his assets and even betrothed his daughter to the rascal.
  6. The family members (except his mother Mme Perenelle)
  7. and audience are aware of Tartuffe’s hypocrisy.



  1. The plot is easy to follow and you can find all that information
  2. on the Tartuffe wikipedia page.



  1. Reading this play was hard work.
  2. But I put in the hours and have made some discoveries.
  3. Molière was writing for his time and the play feels outdated.
  4. France had just witnessed the manipulation of
  5. Queen Anne of Austria by the
  6. La Compagine du Saint-Sacrement, a fundamentalist religious society.
  7. Anne was named regent upon her husband’s death (Louis XIII).
  8. Their four-year-old son was later crowned King Louis XIV of France.
  9. Moliere wanted to denounce by means of the play ‘Tartuffe”
  10. the power of this society.
  11. The society denounced heretics,
  12. …libertine morals and other pastimes the French love.
  13. it functioned as a sort of Inquisition!
  14. The King of France and the Bishop of Paris had the play banned!


Last thoughts:

  1. After reading the play I felt I was missing something.
  2. I decided to watch a french version on
  3. ….You Tube and follow the script.
  4. It was awful!
  5. The stage design was minimalist
  6. costumes were drab (looked like rags….)
  7. …and the actors did not bring the nuances I hoped to find.
  8. All they did was shout!
  9. Again…I felt I was missing something.
  10. I decided to watch the Royal Shakespeare Company
  11. TV version  broadcast in November 1985 on BBC
  12. …adapted by the Oscar winner writer Christopher Hampton.
  13. It was an absolute delight to watch such great English actors as
  14. Nigel Hawthorne as Orgon and Sir Anthony Sher as Tartuffe.
  15. Sher is unquestionably a Tartuffe that  even Molière would love!
  16. I’m sure the film is available at better libraries…
  17. and here is the link for the play on You Tube.
  18. My advice?  Read the play in English
  19. …if you are feeling adventurous …read it in French.
  20. Then sit down and enjoy this wonderful production
  21. of Tartuffe by Molière.



  1. Christopher Hampton (British playwright, 1946)
  2. has penned a new adaptation of Molière’s
  3. classic comedy Tartuffe, which will begin performances
  4. May 25  2018 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, London.
  5. It will be directed by Gerald Garutti.
  6. In this new adaptation, the 17th century comedy moves to America, where a
  7. French film tycoon finds his life uprooted by Tartuffe.
  8. He is a  radical American evangelist.
  9. Hmmm…interesting!


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