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. Damis, Orgon?s son, wonders whether his father will allow Mariane, Orgon?s daughter, to marry Valere, who she is in love with, because Damis is in love with Valere?s sister. Orgon comes and tells Mariane that he wants her to marry Tartuffe instead of Valere because he wants to ally Tartuffe to his house. She is so shocked that she does not say anything. Cleante tries to tell Orgon about Tartuffe?s misleading personality, but Orgon does not want to hear it. Valere finds out about this proposed marriage, and Dorine promises to help Mariane and Cleante expose Tartuffe for the hypocrite he is. Meanwhile, Damis has a plan to hide in a closet to try to expose Tartuffe?s hypocrisy. He hears Tartuffe profess love to Elmire, Orgon?s wife, and suggests that they become lovers. Damis comes from the closet and threatens to tell Orgon what he has said. Damis then tells Orgon, and Orgon is so blind to the truth, that he believes his own son is evil and disinherits him. Later, when Orgon and Tartuffe are alone, Orgon tells Tartuffe of his plans to make him his sole inheritor and his son-in-law. After this, Cleante tries to talk to Orgon about Tartuffe and he confronts Tartuffe in front of Orgon. Tartuffe just dodges the questions, though, and leaves as soon as possible. Elmire then convinces Orgon to hide and find out for himself about Tartuffe, so he does so. Tartuffe comes to see Elmire and once again professes his love. Orgon hears it all, comes from the closet, and bans Tartuffe from his house. Orgon, however, has already signed over his house to Tartuffe and Tartuffe threatens him with this. Orgon is afraid because he has given Tartuffe some secret papers that could ruin his position in the court. Tartuffe comes back later with officers of the court to try to get Orgon?s house, but the king has seen through Tartuffe and sides with Orgon. Tartuffe is ordered to be arrested and the story ends.
This production seems to be about the blindness of Orgon and how easily a person can deceive another. Tartuffe has fooled nobody but Orgon ? the man who has the power and wealth in this situation. The characters in this play all play a certain role in the plot. Elmire, Orgon?s wife, presents a reasonable attitude towards life and the situation. She was the only one able to convince Orgon to see for himself that Tartuffe was a hypocrite. She wants nothing but to save her husband from Tartuffe?s control. Damis, Orgon?s son, is the unlucky soul to take the blame for his father?s misjudgment of Tartuffe. In trying to help his father, he loses his trust and his ties to him. He wants to keep Tartuffe away from his family, but the only thing he succeeds in doing is losing his inheritance. Mariane is the lovely daughter, who is going to be forced to marry a man she does not love or even like. She is part of Orgon?s plan to make Tartuffe a member of the household, whether she likes it or not. She just wants to marry the man she loves. Cleante is Orgon?s brother-in law. He tries to get everyone to view the situation with calm and reason. He wants the best for Orgon and his family. Tartuffe is the imposter who weasels his way into Orgon?s inheritance and then betrays him. He is only looking for the money and is a very greedy man. Orgon is the central character that comes under the influence of Tartuffe. His only want seems to be to make Tartuffe an ally to his house. He is blind to the real situation and seems to have no common sense and no trust in his family and what they are telling him. He is duped by Tartuffe, and is only saved by those he would not listen to before. He is a complex man who makes the story what it is.
Tartuffe is a man of deceit and lust. He lusts for money and this is what becomes his final downfall. He is the villain of the production, which is obvious to both the audience and those in the story, except for Orgon and Madam Pernell. He is a master of disguising his true self. As a religious devotee, he convinces Orgon and Madam Pernell that he is a pious and humble man. He is a superior in the fact that he can recognize his victims weaknesses and play on them. He exploits these flaws for his own advantages. Tartuffe is far from a simple man. He is very alert and uses all methods possible to reach his goal.
In the production we watched the actor playing Tartuffe brought these characteristics to life. He was very successful in portraying the extreme insincerity of Tartuffe. His behavior portrayed one who betrays. There was such a complete change in attitude and behavior when he would be with someone such as Cleante than when he was with Orgon. His voice would become more sincere sounding (even though we know it truly was not) and he would soften his whole personality when he was with Orgon. I found it remarkable how accurately he portrayed Tartuffe. I believe he was extremely successful in bringing Tartuffe?s character to life.