The Palace of Versailles was the place built by Louis XIV to represent his grand and absolute power and as a way to keep the nobility satisfied and entertained, while under his control. In Tartuffe, the nobility (mostly Orgon and his mother) is depicted as being fools because of the way they are easily tricked by the “holy impostor”. When Madame Pernelle praises Tartuffe for being a good holy man, her grandson Damis says “No, look you, madame, neither father nor anything else can oblige me to have any regard for him. I should belie my heart to tell you otherwise. To me his actions are perfectly odious; and I foresee that, one time o...
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...y the king, who comes to his aid and overrides the transfer of power of Orgon’s wealth to Tartuffe. The king’s officer says to Orgon: “We live under a prince who is an enemy to fraud, a prince whose eyes penetrate into the heart, and whom all the art of impostors can’t deceive…He will moreover that I should strip the traitor of all your papers to which he pretends a right, and give them you...” (Act V, Scene VII). Once again, the story speaks to Louis XIV’s absolute power, by the king making the final decision over the nobility’s inability to manage their own matters. Prior to absolutism, the power had belonged to the praised nobility (like seen in Chrétien’s Yvan). This is not the case anymore under King Louis’s reign and Molière’s Tartuffe makes the message clear to whoever was able to analyze the underlying message behind the comic play “intended to entertain”.
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