Justice and Injustice in Moliere's Tartuffe

1767 WordsJul 11, 20188 Pages
Justice and Injustice in Tartuffe A theme of the play Tartuffe is justice. Justice, or the lack of justice, can be seen in the relationship between father and son, father and daughter, and guest and host. Lacanian philosophy, which focuses on language and the conflict that the male feels due to a disintegration of oneness, can be used to look at injustice as it manifests itself in the male conflict within the play. According to Lacan, a male child experiences conflict with his father, who is associated with language and thus otherness. Once a child enters into the world of language he loses his sense of unity with his mother. In Tartuffe the father, Orgon is in conflict with his son, Damis. Damis is a rash person who does…show more content…
Orgon is also silent at various times, during which times justice is observed. For instance, the marriage of Mariane is openly disputed by Dorine, the lady's-maid of Mariane. Dorine is ultimately ordered to be silent by Orgon as this argument persists. When Dorine comments to herself about Orgon's orders, Orgon proclaims "it seems you treat my orders as a joke" (2.2.112). This commenting eventually annoys Orgon to the point that he says, "She makes me sinfully annoyed and nettled. / I can't speak further..." (2.2.126-127), symbolizing the disassociation of language with the female figures, for he is not able to silence Dorine. Stomping off, Orgon is not able to persuade Mariane to his way of thinking, and injustice is at least delayed. Orgon is also silent while hiding in order that he might witness the treacherous attempts of the seduction of his wife by the deceptive Tartuffe. At this point, Orgon is under the table, a womb image. which symbolizes the reintegration with their mothers that all males, according to Lacan, are desirous of attaining. Here, Orgon, is reconciled with this desire and remains silent, even during the plentiful hints of Elmire who attempts to draw him out. Orgon, having seen the true feelings of Tartuffe, reemerges from the womb-like table as a changed man. Speaking about Tartuffe, he says that "Hell never harbored anything so vicious!" (5.6.7). Orgon then begins again to use language as law, although for a more just
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