Women have been the most discriminated-against group of people in the entire history of humankind. They have been abused, held back in society, and oftentimes restricted to the home life, leading dull, meaningless lives while men make sure the world goes round. It seems strange that half of the world's population could be held down so long; ever since the dawn of humanity, women have been treated like second-class citizens. Only in the past 100 years or so have women started to win an equal place in society in the Western world. However, the fight for equality has not been a short one. The seeds of the liberation movement were planted hundreds of years ago, by free-thinking people such as Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Molière. Writing during the Enlightenment, his plays satirized a great many aspects of society, from hypochondriacs to hypocrites (Lawall 11). Although the Enlightenment was primarily a male-driven era, women began to strive for a greater place in the world, as evidenced by Molière's Tartuffe.
This dramatic masterpiece has several strong female characters, each displaying different aspects of this early form of feminism. For example, Madame Pernelle, the grandmotherly figure in this play, embodies the spirit of the older women in society. The reader immediately sees what a nasty, self-righteous figure she is. In the opening scene of the play, she grills her son's wife, his children, and their maid. Speaking to Elmire, she hisses, "I wouldn't make you welcome in my house. / You're full of worldly counsels which, I fear, / Aren't suitable for decent folk to hear" (Molière 21). Tartuffe dupes her as easily as he dupes her son Orgon. She states boldly, "[Tartuffe...
... middle of paper ...
...n the early 1900s. All the women in Tartuffe, regardless of their station in life, are striving for something more, something closer to being equal to men. The majority of the women are voices of reason. This fact is a particularly interesting one, because reason was the key concept of the Enlightenment. The emphasis on reason led women in the Enlightenment to think for themselves, allowing them to push against the boundaries the male-controlled society put up for them and planting the seeds of a feminist movement that would come about nearly three hundred years later.
Lawall, Sarah, et al., "Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Molière." The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces. Lawall et al.11-13.
---. The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces. 7th ed. 2 vols. New York: Norton,
Molière, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin. Tartuffe. Lawall, et al. 13-68.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Early signs of feminism in Molière’s Tartuffe The female characters in Molière’s Tartuffe display feminist behaviors years before the feminist movement emerged historically. Many of their actions, words and behaviors are completely out of character for women of their time. Moliere makes a strong statement with this play by presenting female characters that go against convention. The gender inequality when the Enlightenment began was extreme. The women in this play try to fight against this inequality and in the end it is the patriarch of the family that is fooled by Tartuffe yet most of the female characters remain un-fooled throughout the play.... [tags: inequality, arrogance, norms]
1102 words (3.1 pages)
- Tartuffe by Molière is a comedy of morals that easily portrays character weakness, and a variety of their different viewpoints. The women in Tartuffe are characters not normal to the gender belief of the seventeenth century period in which the play was written, because they seem to be the only characters who can take action or take a stand for what they believe is best for themselves or other characters. Molière depicts the women in his play as unconventional in order to counteract the traditional portrayal of women in his time period.... [tags: Woman, Marriage, Tartuffe, Molière]
712 words (2 pages)
- Religion in society has always been argued and has caused many disagreements between the people of the church and the people of the community and the church itself. Dating back to the 17th and 18th century, authors began speaking out about their views on hypocrisy and fanaticism of the religious body. Authors, Moliere and Voltaire began writing satirical stories expressing their views on the issues of religion. Moliere used his play, Tartuffe, to direct his readers to understand the hypocrisy and fanaticism he found within the religion.... [tags: Voltaire, Candide, Molière, Hypocrisy]
1160 words (3.3 pages)
- The Character of Tartuffe Moliere's neoclassic comedy, Tartuffe, is a prime example of his expertise in the comedic technique. The plot is one that keeps the reader or viewer interested and aware. It begins with Madame Pernell visiting her son's house and reprimanding all of them but their boarder, Tartuffe. She believes Tartuffe is a man of astounding character. The members of the house, however, disagree and say that Tartuffe is deceitful and a fraud. After Madam Pernell leaves, Dorine and Cleante, the maid and the brother-in-law of the main character, Orgon, discuss Tartuffe and both agree that he has captivated Orgon.... [tags: Tartuffe Essays]
950 words (2.7 pages)
- Moliere's Tartuffe and the Religious Hypocrisy Moliere's Tartuffe is a satire based on religious hypocrisy. Every character is essential in Tartuffe. All of the characters play an important role, but it is easy to say that Tartuffe and Orgon are the main characters. First, we must know the definition of satire. According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, satire is defined as "literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn" ("satire"). In other words, a satire is defined as literary work that uses humor to point out the foolishness of a person or just in human nature.... [tags: World Literature Moliere Tartuffe Essays Papers]
1426 words (4.1 pages)
- In Moliere's comedy, Tartuffe, the main focus of the play is not of Tartuffe, but of Orgon's blind infatuation with Tartuffe. It just so happens that the title character is the villain rather than the hero. Orgon is Moliere's representation of how a man can be so blind in his devotion to a belief that he cannot make accurate judgment as to the sincerity of others who would use that belief to deceive him. Tartuffe easily achieves total power over Orgon's actions because of his gullibility. However, as the play progresses, Orgon's view of Tartuffe changes and results in Tartuffes removal.... [tags: Tartuffe Essays]
356 words (1 pages)
- The Flawed Characters of Tartuffe To be perfect is to be inhuman. Human nature is complete with many flaws and imperfections, one of which is represented in the play "Tartuffe", by Moliere. “Tartuffe” was written specifically to show the reader a basic flaw in human nature. This flaw is shown through two characters, Madame Pernelle and Orgon. These two are blind to the truth concerning Tartuffe and fall victim to his wiles. The fact that these two are too weak to see the truth is a basic human flaw as well as a major theme of the play, represented through their flawed characters. If anything, Madame Pernelle and Orgon are incredibly gullible.... [tags: Tartuffe Essays]
735 words (2.1 pages)
- The Foolish Orgon of Tartuffe In Molière's Tartuffe, translated by Richard Wilbur, the central character, a man named Orgon, has been completely brainwashed and taken advantage of by the title character, a lecherous and parasitic "holy man." Tartuffe has made use of one of the oldest scams in human history to insinuate himself into Orgon's household; he appeals to Orgon's desire to be a good, upstanding, and pious man by appearing to be the same. Tartuffe's manipulations are evident to everyone but Orgon, and seem to the reader to be blatantly obvious.... [tags: Tartuffe Essays]
1828 words (5.2 pages)
- Weakness in Tartuffe The play "Tartuffe", by Moliere, is a work that was created to show people a flaw in their human nature. There are two characters who portray the main flaw presented in the play. Both Madame Pernelle and Orgon are blinded to the farces of Tartuffe and must be coaxed into believing the truth. The fact that Orgon and Madame Pernelle are too weak to see the truth is an important theme of the play. The most obvious weakness shared between Orgon and Madame Pernelle is gullibility.... [tags: Tartuffe Essays]
714 words (2 pages)
- Enlightenment and Tartuffe The ideals of the Enlightenment can be found in many of the writings from this time period. There are a few characteristics that are commonly associated with the Enlightenment. This was the age of reason. People at this time began to apply rational thoughts to figure out and understand nature and to guide their human existence. In Moliere’s Tartuffe, this ideal is expressed through the character of the king. In the end, Tartuffe has brought an officer of the king back to take Orgon away.... [tags: Free Essays Online]
446 words (1.3 pages)
- Battle of the Sexes in D.H Lawrence's Short Story, Tickets Please
- Ancient and Modern Elements in Julie Taymor's Adaptation of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus
- Perceptions of Men and Women Revealed in Susan Glaspell's Trifles
- Symbolic Illustration of the Power of Relationships in Susan Glaspell's Trifles
- Comparing Gothic Elements in Fall of the House of Usher, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ligeia, and American Sl
- Self Discovery and Noel Perrin's The Androgynous Man