Tartuffe; Or, The Hypocrite


Tartuffe; Or, The Hypocrite, by Molière - click to see full size image

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Tartuffe; Or, The Hypocrite by French playwright Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin) was first performed in 1664 for Louis XIV. A comic tale that features the characters of Tartuffe, Elmire, and Orgon - considered some of the best roles in theatre. Tartuffe, a so-called pious man who claims to speak with divine authority is taken in by a family, the head of which is Orgon. Whilst Orgon and his mother fall completely for Tartuffe's pious act, the rest of the family hate him and devise a scheme to show him for what he really is. All in all, the play exposes the folly of believing things without checking facts or appealing to reason. The representation in the play that pious men are not as pious as they make themselves out to be, was what got the play almost immediately banned. Those opposed to it were members of upper-class French society, and the Roman Catholic Church. Louis XIV actually liked the play. However, it took several rewrites before it was finally performed as a five-act play without controversy in 1669. Much like how Machiavellian became part of the language after 'The Prince' was published, Tartuffe became a word used to describe a religious hypocrite.

Part of Anne Haight's List of Banned Books.

Part of the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s Great Books of the Western World set.

Part of the Harvard Classics set.

This book has 18,441 words, and 89 pages in the PDF version. This translation by Curtis Hidden Page was originally published in 1909.

Production notes: This ebook of Tartuffe; Or, The Hypocrite was published by Global Grey in 2021, and updated on the 19th January 2024. The artwork used for the cover is 'Self-portrait' by Joost Cornelisz Droochsloot.

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