Tartuffe: Dysfunctional Family Essay

732 Words Feb 5th, 2013 3 Pages
The Dysfunctional Family: The Truth about the New Normal

What is the definition of a dysfunctional family? Many would say some of the characteristics include fighting families, no disciplined children, and an unstructured disruptive environment. But, what if these common stereotypes did not exist and the family was still dysfunctional? In the literary writings Tartuffe and The Death of Ivan Ilyich, we will explore the different family dynamics and how being dysfunctional plays a part in their lives.

In Tartuffe, the matriarch of the family is Madame Pernelle, and she does not hold her tongue when speaking her mind to her family. As she so states,“ You, boy, grow more foolish every day. To think my grandson should be such dunce!
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Their son Vladimir on the other hand, did not share the same views as the corrupted society around him. He chose not to engage in the bigotry exposed to him.

Orgon and Ivan’s family have similarities when it comes to showing who has dominance over the families decisions. Ivan showed his dominance in a different manner than Orgon. Ivan chose to bury himself in work rather than deal with the stresses of communicating his thoughts to others, while Orgon chooses to fight for what he believes is a relevant cause. The women of each play have different respect for the head of the household. In Tartuffe, the women hold back on what they believe is truly rational thinking while allowing all the decisions to made for them. In the Death of Ivan Ilyich, his wife voiced her opinion frequently in turn caused turmoil within their family dynamic. Because she spoke her mind vividly, she pushed Ivan away. “Ivan Ilyich looks at her, scans her all over, sets against her whiteness and plumpness and cleanness of her hands and neck, the gloss of her hair, and the sparkle of her vivacious eyes. He hates her with his whole soul. And the thrill of hatred he feels for her makes him suffer from her touch.” (Norton; Vol. E; 2nd Edition; Pg. 1451)

As we read the selections, we can truly see that it does not matter what social class one dwells from, the existence of family issues are not inevitable. Ivan and Orgon could have easily turned their backs on the unhappiness of
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