Tartuffe; Or, The Hypocrite

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Genres: Banned Books
Language: English
Type: Digital

Tartuffe; Or, The Hypocrite is a five-act comedy in French verse by Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Molière, first performed at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal in Paris on 12 May 1664. It was famously denounced by the clergy, who found the portrayal of a religious hypocrite to be offensive.


Tartuffe is a religious hypocrite who ingratiates himself into the wealthy Orgon household. He pretends to be a pious and devout man, and Orgon is so impressed by him that he gives him power of attorney over his entire estate. Tartuffe also tries to seduce Orgon's wife, Elmire, but she is not fooled by his hypocrisy and exposes him.


  • Hypocrisy: The play is a scathing satire of religious hypocrisy. Tartuffe is a fake who pretends to be a devout Christian in order to gain power and wealth.
  • Deception: Tartuffe is a master manipulator who deceives everyone around him. He is able to convince Orgon that he is a holy man, even though he is nothing more than a fraud.
  • Greed: Tartuffe is motivated by greed. He wants to control Orgon's estate, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to get his hands on it.
  • Lust: Tartuffe is also motivated by lust. He tries to seduce Orgon's wife, Elmire, but she is not fooled by his advances.

Critical Reception

Tartuffe; Or, The Hypocrite was met with mixed reviews when it was first performed. The clergy was outraged by the play, and they accused Molière of blasphemy. However, the play was popular with the public, and it was performed for many years.


Tartuffe; Or, The Hypocrite is considered one of Molière's greatest plays. It is a classic satire of religious hypocrisy, and it continues to be relevant today. The play has been adapted into many films, operas, and ballets, and it is still performed regularly on stage.

Key Works

  • The School for Wives (1662)
  • The Misanthrope (1666)
  • Tartuffe (1664)
  • Don Juan (1665)
  • The Miser (1668)
  • The Bourgeois Gentleman (1670)
  • The Imaginary Invalid (1673)


  • "Tartuffe, take your bag and get out!"
  • "He's a hypocrite, my dear, a hypocrite."
  • "I could not bear to see you in such hands."
  • "The only way to deal with a hypocrite is to expose him."
  • "Tartuffe is a wolf in sheep's clothing."


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