Introduction In literature of any genre, the theme of deception is a great tool. It provides motivation and kicks to the characters, brings in comedy as the story progresses, and gives a push to the advancement of the plot. It keeps the reader/viewer continuously on tenterhooks. Tartuffe by Jean Baptiste Poquelin Moliere fits into the form of comedy, which includes love matches promised, blocked, and finally made: a gradual recovery of spirit into a happy ending. This paper will throw light on the acts of attempted adultery in marriage. For better or worse, humor keeps the momentum of life going in the play. The entire action of Tartuffe takes place in one room in Orgon’s house in Paris.
Attempted adultery in Tartuffe:
An important part of this drama relates to the dubious nature of Orgon. The author writes about such persons who were in ample number in that era. In their praiseworthy fashion, they concealed their own interests in the name of God. and in their mouths Tartuffe became a play that attacks piety (p. xxix) Orgon is a superficially pious Christian, who dons cross on the neck, but not Christ in the heart. Tartuffe’s hypocritical in his disposition. His suspicious religious convictions are highlighted through the metaphor of his hair-shirt, donned only for outward show and have no impact on the surface. He makes use of religion for his benefit and his real objective is deception. Fascinated by the assertions of Tartuffe, Orgon is not willing to believe his own flesh and blood when he informs him of the scheming Tartuffe’s ’disposition towards Elmire. The author articulates Even the holiest matters cannot be protected from human corruption, and we see, every day, scoundrels who take advantage of piety and use it wickedly to support the most criminal actions. ( p. xxxiii) Tartuffe’s acts of deception continue successfully but in the later part of the play Orgon, covering himself below a table, hears the conversation and how Tartuffe tries to woo his wife. The secret comes to the light but all is well that ends well. Thus Molière elucidates a marital conflict into the play to enable him to explore issue that goes with some of the marriages like adultery and the role of women in the society etc. Tartuffe is a comedy of the classical and old-world charm. The comical incidents are elucidated directly. The play provides an optimistic view of humanity and this is one of the important aspects of the comedy. The viewers/readers get a feeling throughout the play that all is going to be well. The characterization develops, as to how they should be.
Tartuffe is not the symbol of religion. He is an obvious opportunist, a turncoat, and a man looking out for opportunities to cheat, who will play any kind of a hoax to fulfil his cravings. Religious piety simply happens to be the mask that best conceals his motives from the naive Orgon. He is smart enough and actor enough, to make the most of his chances.
The merits of the plot
The characters are especially alive. the plot is dexterously constructed. the action is stimulating with suspense. and the characters use delightfully humorous slang. In this drama the satire is directed against individuals within in the society. The author is not particularly concerned with why his characters behave the way they do. But the intrinsic strength of each of the character is in humor.
Moliere is writing in a free society and has no qualms to depict the serious social issues like adultery and religious hypocrisy. He attacks hypocrisy in religion, and not religion! He has a far-fetched insight into human life. Tartuffe sparkles with satire and shattering criticism of society. The author articulates how irrational, unseeing blind faith has always generated problems and it continues to do it in the present times.