Tartuffe As A Light Hearted Comedy

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Justly Out of Place Tartuffe is portrayed as a light hearted comedy that a reader can sit down and enjoy; however, there are layers underneath that must be peeled back to see a theme that is crucial to the play, feminism. Moliere has created this wonderful drama in which three ladies stand out and really drive the action. Madame Pernelle’s excessive ranting, Dorine’s disrespectful back talking, and Elmire’s devious scheming seem to be the only actions taken to resolve the conflicts of Master Orgon’s household. Moliere has given us a look into a particularly odd eighteenth century home, where ladies should be demure and soft-spoken; and yet these three women are not. Though a humorous piece of literature, Tartuffe makes a serious, feminine statement: The master of the house may be a man, but women definitely have a role to fill when it comes to authority and influence. Madame Pernelle is our first example of an authority figure who may not be liked, but who has a strong opinion and an even stronger personality. She shows her sense of superiority by belittling almost everyone in the house, and no one questions her about it because she does have some control over the household affairs. Madame Pernelle begins to reproach the household starting with Dorine by saying, “See? A servant with an opinion . . . Were I in charge here, you’d be out the door” (I, i, 14, 16). Continuing to fling insults, she says to her grandson, “Just as I told my son, ‘Your son’s a brat. He won’t become

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