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The Man Behind the Mask

Moliere’s incredible play Tartuffe, examines the differences between a character’s true face and the mask that they hide behind. Most apparent in this play is the mask of Tartuffe himself, who is seen as a holy, religious man in one scene, and in the next as a perverted hypocrite. Although Tartuffe’s mask is probably the easiest to spot among the characters, there is another character that wears quite a mask himself. Orgon, who is the naïve son, husband, father, and brother, wears such a mask that he himself can probably not even see through it. However, his family can see through the mask, whether they know his true intentions or not, I don’t know. I believe that there are several reasons, or options, if you will, that might explain why exactly Orgon wears this horrible mask and falls for the hypocrisies of Tartuffe. Whatever the reason though, his masked character certainly caused a fair amount of disruption and strife for everyone, including himself.

Orgon, being the generous man he was, invited an incredibly unholy man by the name of Tartuffe into his home, offering him shelter, food, his daughter, and even his estate. Why though, would such a practical man as Orgon be so blinded by the true nature of Tartuffe? First, I believe that Orgon, who was of good standing, could have sought to improve his social status, by taking in Tartuffe, a holy faker, who, “By the deep fervor of his heartfelt prayer,” would “draw the eyes of everybody,” at the church. Since everybody at the church saw Tartuffe performing all of these obscenities, they would possibly take Orgon for being a better man if he was to provide this lonesome “rascal,” with food, shelter, money, etc… During this time period, one’s social class was very important, so if Orgon could improve how others saw him, his whole life might improve. This also might have been a way for him…...

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