Sunday, November 22, 2015

Tartuffe - Molière (Spoilers?)

This play is deceptively short but packs a nice satirical wallop. In fact, it was considered offensive by many groups, including the church, the aristocracy, etc. when it was first produced in 1664. I can see why; Molière makes Orgon seem like an incredible buffoon and a dupe, and he is definitely striking out at hypocrites and phonies and those that are all too easily taken in by them. 

A quick trip to Wikipedia shows that the play was rewritten multiple times, and in fact it's a later version that is the most commonly read/performed today; this makes me wonder about the original version - I wonder if there are any existing versions that are relatively easy to access? 

As a reader who is a product of my time, I wouldn't have minded a bit more explanation of why Orgon and his mother are so easily taken in by a hypocritical con artist, but it's not a big deal in the context of the play. I will say that my favorite scene is the one in which Valère and Mariane are trying to come to terms with the news that Orgon is going to marry Mariane to Tartuffe; I thought this scene was very funny. I definitely need to read more Molière! 

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