Feminism During the Enlightenment in Molière's Tartuffe Essay

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Feminism During the Enlightenment in Molière's Tartuffe


Women have been the most discriminated-against group of people in the entire history of humankind. They have been abused, held back in society, and oftentimes restricted to the home life, leading dull, meaningless lives while men make sure the world goes round. It seems strange that half of the world's population could be held down so long; ever since the dawn of humanity, women have been treated like second-class citizens. Only in the past 100 years or so have women started to win an equal place in society in the Western world. However, the fight for equality has not been a short one. The seeds of the liberation movement were planted hundreds of years ago, by free-thinking
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Such a statement demonstrates how she has not only fallen for his false piety, but she has also unknowingly adopted his hypocrisy. She treats her own family in the worst of ways, being both smug and argumentative at the same time. Mme. Pernelle obviously does not embrace the Christian virtues of kindness and love for one another.

Madame Pernelle knows her station in life as set forth by society. The reader can assume that she is an older lady and has been brought up in social circles. Despite being a widow, she does not seem to possess great independence. Her harsh words to her family members preach traditional values, such as leaving business matters and advice to the men, but merely uttering those words in mixed company she pushes against the societal walls. She may not have a great sense of independence, but she does express her opinion, and even argues with men, namely Cleante and Orgon.

Mme. Pernelle butts heads with Elmire, Orgon's wife. Elmire is the most sensible member of the household, and she is probably the strongest voice of reason in the entire work. Her head is firmly planted on her shoulders. She sees straight through Tartuffe's guise of piety and openly opposes him. She possesses a sharp cunning, setting a trap so that Orgon will see Tartuffe's sexual advances. Elmire is a woman who knows her place in society and does not wish to cause too much uproar about her actions. At first, she does not want to do…