Tartuffe And Huck Finn: Confli Essay, Research Paper
Tartuff and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Conflicts with Society
Society has caused some books to be banned and others to be praised. Society as a theme has always been controversial because it usually portrays people of high rank in society as either evil or heroic. In Virgil s The Aneid, the Roman society is portrayed as heroic and the book was put on a pedestal for it. In other stories such as Tartuffe and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the view of society has not been so kind. In both of these stories the characters struggle against society. In Tartuffe the main characters fight against Tartuffe, the man that represents all that is wrong with society. Huckleberry Finn, on the other hand, is constantly running away from society, which constrains him and forces him to actually believe that he is evil because he chooses to go against it. In the two controversial stories, Tartuffe and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the characters are caught in a struggle with society and are forced to follow their instincts that defy what society tells them to do.
In Moliere s play Tartuffe, Orgon, the head of the household, is infatuated with a man named Tartuffe. Tartuffe is a man who claims to be deeply religious, but only does this to take advantage of people like Orgon. Orgon believes that Tartuffe is his guide to salvation. He does not see through Tartuffe s mask but buys into it and bequeaths all he owns to him. Orgon s family is the group of characters caught in the struggle with Tartuffe and hence society. Orgon s family includes his wife Elmire, his son Damis, his
daughter Maryine, his mother Madam Parnel, Dorine, the lady s maid, and Cleante his wife s brother. This group sees through Tartuffe and constantly fights against him. In response to their struggles Orgon s blindness to Tartuffe only increases. To flatter Tartuffe Orgon tries to promise his daughter, Mariane, to marry Tartuffe, even though he has already promised her to Valere. This, of course, causes much consternation in the family. All of them come together to figure out a way to convince Orgon that Tartuffe is a bad man. They cannot come up with a good plan and therefore do not succeed in avoiding the marriage at first.
In another scene Tartuffe shows his true colors when he makes advances toward Orgon s wife Elmire. When his son Damis tells him of this occurrence he is banished from the house. Orgon is so upset that his son, and the rest of his family, will not believe him when he tells them that Tartuffe is a good man and would never do such a thing that he actually thinks he is doing the right thing by signing all of his earthly possessions over to Tartuffe. Orgon does this to prove to his family how much faith he has in Tartuffe. There are many other examples of Orgon s blindness throughout the play, which force his family to fight against Tartuffe and society. This book was banned early on because it points out a major flaw in society, which Tartuffe is the epitome of. This flaw is religious hypocrisy. Moliere saw that people in high places in society who claimed to be religious were actually just using religion to get what the wanted and this was a reflection of society. More religious hypocrisy and other evils of society can be seen in Mark Twain s Timeless novel.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is the story of a young boy who runs away from society and everything it stands for. Huck Finn is a boy that from the beginning is not in sync with society. He never realizes that the choices he makes are morally right ones because his choices are the opposite of what society would choose. Huck clearly states early on that he does not want to be like society saying, The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me I got into my old rags and my sugar hogshead again, and was free and satisfied (Twain 3). This quote shows that Huck would rather be in his old clothes and free rather than in new ones like society would have him. Another example of society being shown in a negative light is seen when pap, Huck s father, returns to get custody of Huck. The court decides that Huck belongs to his father and awards custody. This shows society in a negative light because pap is obviously an unfit father. He drinks too much and beats his son. This theme of society being negative only grows throughout the story. After Huck fakes his death to escape from his father and begins his journey down the Mississippi river he runs in to Jim, Mrs. Watson s slave who has run away. Instead of doing what society would do and turn him in, Huck continues his journey with this runaway slave. Ironically Huck believes that he is committing a sin by not turning Jim in, showing a struggle between himself and society.
While on the river it is apparent that Huck would rather be on his raft then in a city or town constricted by society. Evidence of this can be seen any time Huck returns to civilization. First off he never stays there long and when he leaves he does it in a hurry. Once back on the raft he always proclaims how happy he is to be there. Huck says, Then
we hung up our signal lantern, and jugged that we was free and safe once more (Twain 107). In this quote Huck says that he feels free and safe. Not once does he say this when he is in the city constrained by society. There are many more examples of Huck s struggles with society such as with the letter he wrote to Mrs. Watson about Jim. The letter would have given Jim up, but of course, Huck makes the correct moral decision and rips up the letter. Once again he feels that he has sinned by doing so. He says, All right
, then, I ll go to hell and tore it up (Twain 193). At this point, Huck is one hundred and eighty degrees from society and standing up for what is right. This is the climax of the story, one that points a major struggle Huck has been faced with. It also shows Huck s innate since of right and how he has finally given into his conscience.
In Tartuffe and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, there are strong themes of society and the problems associated with it. While these stories were written hundreds of years apart, their creators chose to make fun of certain parts of society and show these points through character conflict. Character conflict is only one of the similarities between the two works. In Tartuffe, the family is placed in the struggle with society. They are faced with a religious hypocrite who is taking all of their possessions. This hypocrite, Tartuffe, represents society. And in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, it is Huck himself that is in the majority of the struggles with society. While Huck Finn deals with more issues concerning society such as slavery, abusive parents, being sivilized , and justice, the theme of religion is apparent as well. This is seen many times in the novel as Huck tries to figure out prayer and what sin actually is. Another similarity between Tartuffe and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the strong sense of right that
Huck Finn and Cleante have. In Tartuffe, Cleante is the person seen as the conscience of the group and in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, it is Huck s actual conscience that is the sense of right. Notice that in either of the cases the moral conscience is definitely not society.
Tartuffe and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are timeless pieces that speak to the individual and make them think about the society in which they live. These writings are still read today because the issues they deal with, such as conflicts with society in religion, justice, and others are problems in modern society and will be problems in future society.