Tartuffe Book Summary - Tartuffe Book explained in key points

Tartuffe summary


Brief summary

Tartuffe is a play written by Molière that satirizes religious hypocrisy. It tells the story of a manipulative imposter who deceives a wealthy family with his false piety, causing chaos and exposing the dangers of blind faith.

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    Summary of key ideas

    Hypocrisy and Deceit in the House of Orgon

    In Molière's Tartuffe, Orgon, a well-to-do man, falls prey to the duplicity and hypocrisy of a seemingly pious beggar named Tartuffe. The drama begins with Orgon's family expressing their concern over Orgon's undue affection for Tartuffe. Despite Orgon's mother, Madame Pernelle, being the only one supportive of Tartuffe, everyone else, including Orgon's wife Elmire and his cunning maid Dorine, witness Tartuffe's true, cunning nature.

    Blinded by Tartuffe's feigned piety, Orgon goes to the extent of offering his daughter Mariane's hand in marriage to Tartuffe, dismissing her love for Valere. An air of tension spreads across the household as Dorine, Elmire, and Mariane devise a plan to uncover Tartuffe's true identity.

    The Feigned Piety of Tartuffe

    As Tartuffe progresses, Molière gradually unveils the hypocrite's true character. Elmire, Orgon's wife, conducts a meet-cute to expose Tartuffe's lust and duplicity to her husband, who hides under a table witnessing Tartuffe's advances towards Elmire. However, Tartuffe, unaware of Orgon's presence, tries to seduce Elmire, revealing his lustful intentions.

    Orgon finally realizes the deceit, throwing Tartuffe out of the house. In a significant twist, Tartuffe retaliates by revealing a deed of gift given to him by Orgon, handing Tartuffe all Rights to Orgon's property. Tartuffe poses a threat, warning Orgon to vacate the house.

    The Betrayal and Redemption

    The third act of Tartuffe sees Orgon's life spiraling out of control. As Orgon deals with the loss of his property, Tartuffe files another lawsuit accusing Orgon of treachery. The situation worsens when Orgon's family learns of a secret strongbox handed to Tartuffe, containing a letter that might lead Orgon to prison.

    As despair overtakes the house of Orgon, an unexpected turn of events saves the day. Through Louis XIV's intervention, Tartuffe is taken into custody, labeling him a notorious criminal well-known to the authorities. As a gesture of his goodwill and belief in Orgon’s innocence, the king renders the deed null and void, restoring Orgon's possession of his property.

    Molière's Satirical Stance

    In conclusion, Tartuffe by Molière can be seen as a sharply pointed satire, attacking hypocrisy and false piety in society. Through the character of Tartuffe, Molière demonstrates the danger of blind faith and manipulative individuals who exploit such faith for their gains. Orgon's character reflects the pitfalls of not heeding the advice of those who genuinely care for us.

    Furthermore, the play points out the moral weakness that comes with orthodoxy and the power dynamics within family structures. Justice, as Molière suggests, does not always come from recognized authority, but rather, often from unsung heroes like Dorine or even from an unexpected source, like the king's officer. Thus, Tartuffe is a timeless piece offering a critical look at human behavior and societal norms.

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    What is Tartuffe about?

    "Tartuffe" is a classic French play written by Molière. It tells the story of a wealthy man named Orgon who is deceived by the hypocritical and manipulative Tartuffe. The play explores themes of religious hypocrisy, gullibility, and the consequences of blind faith. It is a satirical and thought-provoking work that continues to be relevant today.

    Tartuffe Review

    Tartuffe (1664) by Molière offers a satirical take on religious hypocrisy and societal norms, making it a book that deserves a read. Here's why this book is worth your time:

    • Its sharp wit and comedic elements provide a thought-provoking commentary on the dangers of blind devotion.
    • The play challenges conventional ideas about morality and exposes the flaws in human nature, creating a captivating and thought-provoking narrative.
    • Through clever dialogue and well-drawn characters, Tartuffe offers an insightful exploration of deception and manipulation in society, keeping readers engaged from start to finish.

    Who should read Tartuffe?

    • Readers who enjoy satirical and comedic literature
    • People interested in exploring themes of hypocrisy and deception in society
    • Those who want to delve into classic French plays and the works of Molière

    About the Author

    Molière, whose real name was Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, was a French playwright and actor. He is considered one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Molière's works often satirized the hypocrisy and pretensions of society, and his most famous play, "Tartuffe," is a prime example of this. Through his sharp wit and keen observations, Molière created timeless and influential works that continue to be performed and studied to this day.

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    Tartuffe FAQs 

    What is the main message of Tartuffe?

    The main message of Tartuffe is a satire on religious hypocrisy and the dangers of blind faith.

    How long does it take to read Tartuffe?

    The reading time for Tartuffe varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 10 minutes.

    Is Tartuffe a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Tartuffe is a thought-provoking play that delves into the complexities of human nature and religious hypocrisy. It is definitely worth reading for its timeless themes and sharp wit.

    Who is the author of Tartuffe?

    The author of Tartuffe is Molière.

    What to read after Tartuffe?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Tartuffe, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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