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Tartuffe, by Moliere Paperback – January 10, 1992

ISBN-13: 978-0156881807 ISBN-10: 0156881802 Edition: Highlighting and Notation
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Editorial Reviews


Constance Congdon slips into Moliere's tricky shoes and the fit is Cinderella-perfect. Congdon's quicksilver wit and breathless urgency coax the dark heart of Tartuffe into glowing with a twenty-first-century heat. --John Guare --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest Books; Highlighting and Notation edition (January 10, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156881802
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156881807
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
I often taught Moliere's "Tartuffe" as an example of the neoclassical form of comedy in contrast to the romantic comedy represented by Shakespeare. We would read "Twelfth Night," a play set in a faraway exotic land where the point was simply romance, and then turn to "Tartuffe," where the contemporary society becomes one of the primary concerns of the comic dramatist. During the neoclassical period society was concerned with norms of behavior, and in a Moliere play you usually find a eccentric individual, out of step with the rest of society, who is laughed back to the right position. Moliere was concerned with social problems, which was while this particular play, dealing with the issue of hypocrisy, was banned for years. Keep in mind that originally hypocrisy was specific to religion, although today it can be used with regards to politics, sex, or even uncontroversial subjects.
The central character in "Tartuffe" is not the title character, but Orgon, a reasonably well to do man of Paris who is married to his second wife, Elmire, and has a song, Damis, and a daughter, Mariane, from his first marriage. He also has the misfortune of living with his mother, Madame Pernelle. Tartuffe is a religious hypocrite who worms his way into Orgon's confidence in order to take him for everything he is worth. Orgon is completely duped, and disinherits his son when Damis tries to prove Tartuffe is fraud. The other key character in the play is Dorine, who is Mariane's maid and the smartest person in the house, which allows her to both manipulate the action and comment on the play.
There are three crucial scenes in the play that readers should appreciate, even if it will not be covered on a future exam.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Gary Buehner on November 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
Intriguing and entertaining, the play Tartuffe is a satire displaying the scandalous truths and facades of the seventeenth century. Although initially written for the people of King Louis the XIV, the book can be read by an every day high school student or adult. Through reading the play the audience is able to see the deception of people and that we can not always judge by what we see. Moliere brings about this concept through his witty play, and in such a manner that you can't put it down. In Tartuffe, Moliere uses the characterization, rhyme scheme, setting, and irony to effectively inform an every day audience about the distinction between appearances versus reality.

Characterization of Tartuffe

The perfect example of a hypocritical facade is displayed in the characterization of Tartuffe; in fact the name can be defined as one resembling false piety of religion. Tartuffe's character doesn't appear until nearly the middle of the play and the first image the audience receives is of him demanding his servant to, "hang up my hair-shirt, put my scourge in place, and pray Laurent for Heaven's perpetual grace. I'm going to prison now, to share my last few coins with the poor wretches there." (Tartuffe 3.2). The scourge and hair-shirt are used as a means of penance and chastisement. Religious ascetics will operate these items in private, showing their true devotion to God and to no one else. Tartuffe, however, made it obvious to the entire household what he was doing. Cleante, the character of reason, expounds upon Tartuffe's character, "those whose hearts are truly pure and lowly, don't make a flashy show of being holy. There is a vast difference it seems to me, between true piety and hypocrisy." (Tartuffe 1.5).
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker on January 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
Fast-paced and oft hilarious; Moliere's "Tartuffe" was one of the most controversial plays of its day. However, I myself do not believe it to be so much a satire on religion (contrary to what was believed at the time) as a satire on religious hypocrisy. Not once in the play is a specific religion or religious belief eluded to, and Cleante (who serves as the play's voice of reason) praises piety (so long as it is honest) in the beginning of the fifth act. What the play is satirizing is how easily people follow and accept what they are told by their leaders, whether religious, political, or otherwise.
In the play Orgon places so much faith in the mischevious Tartuffe that he nearly gives away everything (including his own daughter) to him. Both the strong-willed, weak-minded Orgon and the devious Tartuffe (of whom one could say "thinks with the wrong head") as well as the quick-tempered Damis, the clear-minded Cleante, and the wise-cracking maid Dorine are memorable characters all of whom are wonderfully developed despite the brevity of the play. The rhyme scheme makes for a quick and enjoyable read as well. A classic!
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
The most amazing thing about this play is the skill of its author. The story is original and interesting. The actual writing is what captivated me. So witty is the dialogue, so humorous it is at times, that I laughed out loud. It is quite amazing that such ancient text sounds like something you would hear on a sitcom. This is not boring or confusing speech, like in Shakespeare; this is very down-to-earth. Aside from the alluring rhyme, Moliere has an incredible ability to take a page-long theme and express it perfectly and succinctly in one sentence, and with poignancy. If I were given the task of writing dialogue about the theme of hypocrisy, I would write page after page of ineffective, watered-down, wordy dialogue that repeatedly misses the mark of expressing the point well. Moliere's lines, however, are so well-crafted that the ideas are ingeniously short and accurate. He fits so many good points into one entertaining, rhythmic, memorable sentence. Tartuffe is my favorite play of all!
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