The two plays deal with similar issues of deception and hypocrisy present in the society and how people wear masks in order to conform to the social norms of their respective societies. Both the authors, Henrik Ibsen and Moliere have made effective use of ‘deception’ in order to bring their ideas and views through to their audience.’ Ghosts’ is a perfect example of a realistic play which attacks the hypocrisy present in the society and in its value systems. Ibsen therefore was known as the father of modern theatre. Tartuffe was written by Moliere in the age of reason. During this period writers usually wrote in a common genre which was known as the comedy of manners. As a form of satire, the genre of comedy was aimed at ridiculing human vices and follies in order to bring about a change in the society.
In ‘Ghosts’ deception is used to show the tragic dimensions of the play in order to bring forth the authors intension and purpose. Throughout the play we see different characters using the tool of deception in order to conform to the rules of the society and hide their own follies. The female protagonist of the play, Mrs. Alving is shown to wear a mask in front of the society and her own son in order to hide her husband’s true identity. She does not tell anyone the truth about her husband’s frivolous activities as in those days it was expected out of a woman to maintain her husband’s reputation in society. We get textual evidence of this in Act I when Mrs. Alving is confiding in Manders, “When Oswald was born, I thought I saw a slight improvement. But it didn’t last long. And after that I had to fight doubly hard – fight a desperate fight so that no one should know what sort of a man my child’s father was. …” Later on we discover...
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...s statement she ha made a statement in Act I, “And whatever he controls is well controlled. He would fain show you the way to Heaven; and my son ought to make you all love him.” Thus, we see how again the eldest member of the family is blinded by deception.
Thus here we see how Moliere has used deception in order to show the presence of hypocrisy in the society. As a comedy Tartuffe ridicules the human folly and hence leaves a stronger impact on its audience.
To conclude I would like to say that the two author’s have the same purpose but yet they make use of ‘deception’ in very different ways. Ibsen uses it as a device to show tragedy whereas Moliere uses it as a comic device to satirize his main purpose and present in front of the audience. Thus deception acts as an effective tool to bring out the truths and put an end to all the hypocrisy present in the societies.
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