In the play by Moliere, a lot of satire, which is in the form of religious hypocrisy and fanaticism is witnessed. All the characters in the play have a key role, but the main characters are Orgon and Tartuffe. It is important to first know the meaning of the word satire in order to fully understand what goes on in the play. Satire refers to any literary work that makes use of humor in order to point out any foolishness that exists in human nature or a person. Also, religious hypocrisy can be termed as being false or self-defined assumptions by an individual. There are many scenes and examples in the play whereby Tartuffe exposed humor and satire through his religious hypocrisy.
In French, the name or word Tartuffe means being a hypocrite, and this is quite evident as the play unfolds. At the opening scenes of the play, one learns that Tartuffe used his cunning ways to receive some piety from the household that belonged to Orgon. In Act One, it seems that Orgon had already made up his mind that he wanted Tartuffe to marry his daughter. However, Orgon’s son known as Damis is aware of the fact that Tartuffe is a pretentious man and does not want to marry Orgon’s daughter, Mariane. Damis claims that “I think Tartuffe’s against it, and that he’s been urging Father to withdraw his blessing”. It is quite satirical that Orgon approves of the proposed union, but other people know Tartuffe’s true nature and thus opposed to the union.
Tartuffe is a character that has been extensively been discussed and analyzed by all the other characters in the play. They have realized that he is just but a loathsome hypocrite that pretends that he quite a religious fanatic and zealot. It is quite unfortunate that Orgon a wealthy man and his mother do not realize this fact and fall prey into his false illusion. In another scene in the play, Tartuffe went to Orgon’s house with the intentions of being a vagrant. He does not waste time in masquerading to be a religious individual and is able to stay in Orgon’s house for a long time. Organ is a fool by all means as he is easily influenced by Tartuffe to do everything for him. He believes that by following the instructions of a religious man, he will surely go to heaven. Orgon is not able to realize the falsehood being displayed by Tartuffe as his religious beliefs have blinded him from reality.
The character known as Cleante defends the view presented by the King as being reasonable, as seen in the last scenes of the play. He argues that God wants people to enjoy their time on earth as it is a gift as opposed to enjoying matters of the flesh. However, Orgon is facing a mid-life resentment because his children are benefiting from various social pleasures. It is no wonder that he quickly gets brainwashed into the disciplinary rigor that is quite mindless. He fails to use common sense as well as reason as he wants to uphold his faith. The combination of pure faith elevation and rigorism towards bodily and social pleasure condemns the function of a human. This shows that the French society and culture suffered from religious hypocrisy. People placed a lot of emphasize on religion to the point whereby they became vulnerable to hypocrites such as Tartuffe. Indeed, Moliere proved that true religion should focus on reason, will, desire and sense.