Human Flaws Of Orgon In Tartuffe Essay

, Research Paper

Human Flaws of Orgon In Tartuffe

The play “Tartuffe”, by Moliere, is a work that was created to show

People a flaw, in their own human nature. There are two characters who portray, the

Main flaw, presented in the play. Both Madame Pernelle and Orgon are blinded by

The farces of Tartuffe and must be coaxed into believing the truth. The fact

That Orgon and Madame Pernelle are too weak to see the truth is the main driving

Force throughout the play. The most obvious weakness shared between Orgon and

Madame Pernelle is gullibility. The trait of gullibility can be seen as a family

Trait as suggested in an essay on “Tartuffe” : “His mother shares his capacity

For self-delusion even after Tartuffe has been found out (”We cannot always

Judge by what we see”)” (Weals). Orgon believes because Tartuffe claims to be a

Man of God he should put everything he has into Tartuffe’s hands. He proves how

Much he believes this after Damis tells him that Tartuffe was flirting with

Elmire. From this accusation Orgon replies to Damis: “I disinherit you; an empty

Purse / Is all you’ll get from me – except my curse!”. Madame

Pernelle shows the family trait that she shares with her son when she states:

“He’s a fine man, and should be listened to.” while speaking of

Tartuffe. Although they share this trait throughout the play, Orgon’s eyes are

Finally opened at the end of the play while his mother is still held by the

Farce of Tartuffe.

Although Tartuffe is portrayed as the main character of the play, Orgon is

The character who should really be paid attention to the most. As suggested in

An essay on “Tartuffe” audiences who concentrate on the character who titles the

Work may miss the author’s point: “?vitriol and spleen vented on one man

Suggests that Moliere’s satire of Orgon, nevermind Tartuffe, was steeped in

Truth.” . Orgon is the character that represents the weakness in human

Nature. This weakness is shown throughout the play. Orgon is so willing to

Entrust everything he has into the care of Tartuffe. He places Tartuffe above

The well being of his family. When he returns from his trip and asks Cleante how

The household was while he was gone, Cleante tells him that his wife had been

Very sick. Orgon’s odd response is, “Ah. And Tartuffe?”. When he hears that

Tartuffe has been eating, sleeping, and generally living well Orgon retorts with

Another peculiar response, “Poor fellow!” . Orgon demands that

Mariane give up Valere and marry Tartuffe. This again shows how Tartuffe has

Taken over due to Orgon’s weakness.:

?That’s wisely said, my Daughter. Say of him then,

That he’s the very worthiest of men,

And that you’re fond of him, and would rejoice

In being his wife, if that should be my choice.


(II, ii, 15)

This is obviously not what Mariane wants but Orgon continues to demand that

She obey him.

Although Madame Pernelle is seen as gullible, she is consistent. At the

Beginning of the play she ridicules her family and compares them to Tartuffe.

She shows how much she is taken by him in this phrase:

“Whatever he reproves

Deserves reproof. / He’s out to save your souls, and all of you / Must love him,

As my son would have you do.” (I, i , 52). Near the end of the play when Orgon

Finally admits that he was wrong Madame Pernelle still will not believe Tartuffe

Is not who he pretends to be. She consistently defends the innocence of

Tartuffe when she says: “No, my son, i’ll never bring / My self to think him

Guilty of such a thing.” (V, iii, 17)

The flaw of weakness is the major driving force in the play. With out

This flaw Tartuffe would have no one on which to practice his conniving ways.

Both Orgon and Madame Pernelle are crucial characters to make this play work.

Although Tartuffe carries the title of this play, it is well suited to focus

More attention on Orgon and Madame Pernelle and their human weakness.

It is my belief that Moliere was a moderate and against excess and obsession in all things. In Tartuffe, he has used Orgon as an example of how the obsessive need to believe can cause man to be taken in by those who would cloak themselves in, and manipulate with, those beliefs. The play is comic because Moliere shows how silly and foolish Orgon looks, when his sincere belief is contrasted with the truth, which is seen by all but his blind self



Moliere, Jean-Baptise Poquelin. “Tartuffe.” The Norton Anthology of

World Masterpieces. Ed. Maynard Mack. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1995. 307


Smaje, Andrew. “Director’s Notes”. Internet Address: .

Weales, Gerald. “Orgon’s Box”. Internet Address:


Photo credits: . .


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