Tartuffe’s Tutelage and Chinese Drama’s Plot


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Orgon was so taken in by Tartuffe that he put aside his feelings for his family because he wanted to be under Tartuffe’s tutelage. He believed that Tartuffe was a soulful, humbled man. The family though is unable to see the great influence of Tartuffe and thinks of him as nothing but a con-artist. They are unable to persuade Orgon otherwise. Dorine states in Act 1, Scene 1 “You see him as a saint. I’m far less awed; In fact, I see right through him. He’s a fraud”.

Tartuffe’s character in the play is shown as a hypocrite and rightfully so as he plays the part of a beggar and a holy man. He’s a snake in the grass waiting and watching to strike his prey. He shows this in Act 3, Scene 6 when he says “Ah, no, don’t be deceived by hollow shows; I’m far; alas; from being what men suppose”. This manipulative gesture as a psychological ploy is an illusion of truth. The method of persuasion that Tartuffe uses, while showing great humility with compelling story-telling, is just one example of his powerful use of reverse psychology. Orgon is so convinced of all Tartuffe’s false confessions that he doesn’t comprehend that Tartuffe is only appearing innocent all the while being completely guilty.

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Pope wrote a proposal to H. St. John and Lord Bolingbroke prior to the Epistles. In the Design he stated that he wanted “to write some pieces on human life and manners”. He first explained that he wanted to begin by understanding “man in the abstract, by his nature and his state”. Pope wanted to consider the quality of man’s essence when writing whether man’s nature is inherently good or bad. He wanted to infer man’s flaws and integrity of not just man, but of all creatures. To do this he was looking into discerning the knowledge of what “the conditions and relations” of man were in correlation to God before beginning to write his letters.

Pope proposed a system of ethics in a form of verse for two reasons; first “to strike the reader more strongly with precepts and secondly that may it be retained more easily afterwards” when read. Pope believed that this was a “general map of Man”. There are limits to the connections that man has with God because man is fallible. Pope understood this when making a compendium by which man could follow in his four Epistles. As Phaedra states in Act 1, scene 2 “The gods have made me mad”, meaning she the entire time she believes it was her not fault that she has these sickening thoughts about her stepson. There are many times throughout the play she eludes to the Gods.

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