Date of Award

Spring 1976

Document Type



Languages & Literature

First Advisor

Sister Miriam Roesler

Second Advisor

Fr. O. Lee Hightower

Third Advisor

Henry Burgess


Il faut raettre le ooids d’une vie exemplaire Dans les corrections gu’aux autres on veut fair could easily be Moliere’s motto,1 Born the son of a "tapissier, valet du chambre du Roi," he had the opportunity to observe both sides of the social ladder of the seventeenth century, the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy. By writing comedies of varied subjects, he managed to get at almost every type of person and every situation that could be satirized. His genius enabled him to maintain the sometimes untenable neutral position from which vantage point he could entertain his readers while satirizing them.

In the play Le Tartuffe, Moliere presents an ugly but comic picture of hypocrisy, one of the weaknesses of his erat Tartuffe (not seeing Orgon) Madam, all things have worked out to perfection? I’ve given the neighboring rooms a full inspection? No one is about? and now I may at last... Orgon (intercepting him) Hold on, my passionate fellow, not so fasti I should advise a little more restraint. Wei', so you thought you'd fool me, my dear saint I How soon you wearied of the saintly life — Wedding ray daughter and coveting ray wifeI I’ve long suspected you, and had a feeling That soon I’d catch you at your double dealing.

Just now, you’ve given me evidence galore; It’s quite enough? I have no wish for more. Elrolre (to Tartuffe) I’m sorry to have treated you so slyly, But circumstances forced me to be wily. Tartuffe Brother, you can’t think... Orgon No more talk from you? Just leave this household, without more ado. Tartuffe What I intended... Orgon That seems fairly clear. Spare me your falsehoods and get out of here.3

Tartuffe's hypocrisy is most evident in Orgon's final recognition of it. For Moliere, hypocrites are hated characters, not only because they play with other people's feelings but because they cause uneasiness whenever they are present. Moliere reminds the spectator that many individuals possess that despicable weakness. He illustrates that there is nothing worse than to be made fools of by a flatterer and pretender. He is very careful to point out that the term hypocrite has been many times misunderstood and misinterpreted.