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1. Why does Tartuffe tell Dorine “Cover that bosom, girl. The flesh is weak/And unclean thoughts are difficult to control/Such sights as that can undermine the soul” (3.1.8-10, p 43)? What do you make of this and what does this say about him? Does Tartuffe have strict moral and religious beliefs, or is he morally or sexually weak? What does Tartuffe confess to Elmire and what does he love about her? Tartuffe says, “You are my peace, my solace, my salvation. . . I may be pious, but I’m human too;/ With your celestial charms before his eyes, /A man has not the power to be wise” (3.3. 79 & 88-90, p. 45). Why is he saying that Elmire is his “salvation”? What do you make of his word choice “salvation” when he refers to Elmire? Is he truly religious? Does Tartuffe “practice precisely what he preaches” (1.1. 42, p. 21)? Why does Tartuffe tell Elmire that he can offer “love without scandal, pleasure without fear” (3.3.122, p. 46)? What does Moliere expose through Tartuffe’s behavior here? (at least 100 words for Question #1).
2. Why does Elmire tell Tartuffe that she is not going to tell Orgon about his confession? What do you think of her reasoning? Why does Damis decide to tell Orgon about Tartuffe? Upon hearing what Damis says about him, Tartuffe tells Orgon: “Yes, Brother, I’m a wicked man, I fear: / A Wretched sinner, all depraved and twisted, /The greatest villain that has ever existed. . . I’ll not defend myself, but take the blame./ Believe what you are told, and drive Tartuffe/Like some base criminal from beneath your roof” (3.6. 2-4 & 10-12, p. 48). Is Tartuffe sincere about what he is saying here? Or, does he think that Orgon will trust him no matter what he says? Why does Orgon disbelieve what Damis has told him about Tartuffe and instead punish Damis? Why do you think Orgon is blind to Tartuffe? (at least 100 words for Question #2)
3. Orgon tells Damis, “Yes, all of you—wife, children, servants, all—/Conspire against him and desire his fall,/ Employing every shameful trick you can/ To alienate me from this saintly man” (3.6. 47-50, p. 49). What do you make of Orgon’s reasoning here? Why does Orgon call his son a “villain” (3.6. 39, p. 49)? Is it because Damis spoke out against Tartuffe, or does Orgon take it as his son’s challenge against him? Why does Orgon ignore Mariane’s plea of not wanting to marry Tartuffe? Does Orgon think of her refusal as a challenge to his authority, or does he think Tartuffe is better for her? What decision does Orgon make regarding Damis, and what do you think of Orgon’s decision? What does Cleante think of Orgon’s decision against Damis? How would you characterize Cleante, and what do you think of his role in the family?