Liturature Tartuffe – Coursework Example

Satire When it comes to discussing satire, the term is generally defined as a literary genre, which can be also used in graphics and performing arts. The main motif of a satire is to demonstrate individual vices, follies and shortcomings by means of ridicule irony or other methods. Although satires are meant to be funny, the purpose of satire is to bring forth improvement in something disapproved by others. In other words, satire is a strong weapon of wit through which the sarcasm or burlesque is brought about. Satirical literature finds two common types of satire: Horatian and Juvenalian. While the former criticizes societal vices in terms of light-hearted humor, the latter refers to a rather darker sarcasm with savage ridicule.
Molière’s Tartuffe is one of the most socially significant plays by the French playwright. Known for its satirical temperament, the play uses wit, irony and sarcasm to expose immoral human behavior and more specifically, religious hypocrisy in sharp contrast to true Christian virtue as demonstrated in 17th century Paris. Throughout the play, the main character Tartuffe is referred to being a hypocrite by other characters. He is a man who pretends to be of high moral values although he does not practice what he preaches. In Act One Scene Two, Dorine summarizes the characteristic vices of Tartuffe with simple sarcasm,
“He sermonizes us in thundering tones
And confiscates our ribbons and colognes” (Wilbur 18)
However, Molière’s satire focuses on the religious hypocrisy through the character of Orgon, the man with self-righteousness and piety. The playwright uses the character as a satirical example of the maliciousness of human morality. It is Orgon who demonstrates fake moral values in order to elevate himself in the society as well as in the eyes of his family. Though Tartuffe is the antagonist representing the hypocrisy of moral values of the society, it is Orgon the complex character through whom this religious hypocrisy is thoroughly channeled.
Wilbur, Richard. Tartuffe. Florida: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1991.