One of the most highly celebrated playwrights of the 17th century is known by the name Moliere, who wrote a classic comedy titled “Tartuffe”. Beyond the comedic elements of the play is the composition of characters that the contemporary literary discourse would agree to be unique and compelling. Tartuffe features the character named Orgon that is often described as a dunce, idiotic, and a sucker. However, despite the negative connotations about Orgon’s character, the other side of him provides a clue to his connection with Tartuffe. The discussion will focus on what Orgon see in Tartuffe and how such scenario also happens in today’s modern time. It is apparent from the story that Orgon was a victim of a deceitful character in Tartuffe that almost cost him and his family their estate and their lives.
As the protagonist in the play, Orgon is known as someone that is comically clueless. Despite being warned by the family members and the very vocal made, Orgon chose to trust and stay loyal to Tartuffe, who is a fraud holy man. Although, Tartuffe did not showed up until halfway through the play. However, his arrival had a tremendous impact to the flow of the story particularly to Orgon. After arriving at Orgon’s house as a vagrant, Tartuffe persuaded Orgon that he is a religious man and asked to stay as a guest indefinitely. One of the things that made Orgon believed in Tartuffe is that he sees the latter as a path to piety and salvation. Orgon willingly believed in Tartuffe for all the latter’s claims and becomes blinded by the truth because her fell to Tartuffe’s infatuating spell. This is possibly due to Orgon’s gullible and often idiotic nature as other characters believed him to be that he needed piety, which he saw that Tartuffe could only provide. It is evident from the conversation between Cleante and Dorine the second of Act 1, “In the late troubles, he [Orgon] played an able part,
And served his king with wise and loyal heart,
But he's quite lost his senses since he fell
Beneath Tartuffe's infatuating spell” (Moliere 1.2.4).
There is an apparent evidence of deception from Tartuffe that Orgon failed to see because of the promise of eternal salvation. This is a common sight in the modern world where people loose themselves, their family, their life, and fortune in favor of a deceitful religious, but fraud leaders that promises false salvation and divine intervention. There are instances where individuals come knocking in someone’s door to ask for shelter and ended up luring the host into a trap that will put them into a dangerous compromise. There is news of groups of individuals emerging and claiming to be the righteous path to eternal salvation, but at the expense of the faithful. These believers share the same characteristic as Orgon for being desperately in need of salvation, which makes them vulnerable to deception because more often than not, desperation clouds wise judgment. Tartuffe is a symbol of false prophet while Orgon is an example of a blind faith. What Orgon saw in Tartuffe as piety and salvation is common in the modern world as more and more people get scammed, being stripped off their wealth in exchange for the promise of wealth and salvation in the next life.
However, the realization of Tartuffe’s real nature and character became clear to Orgon, but it apparent came late as Orgon has already punished his son for accusing Tartuffe of trying to seduce his mother. The end resulted to Orgon handing over his estate to Tartuffe, but real intention emerge as Tartuffe revealed his plan to displace Orgon’s family from its property. Although the imminent misfortune was avoided, what has transpired and what Orgon had seen from Tartuffe’s intentions is rather frustrating particularly for a person that had trusted someone so much. There is a sense of betrayal in the picture, but what Orgon has seen in the latter part of the story is much more important. He had reached the realization of almost being trapped into a misfortunate fate because of his tendencies to fly off the handle.
Orgon’s experience is very real for some people. It is something that might happen today as people are being displaced from their homes and properties because of the selfish interest of some people. In some cases, leaders not only in religious sects, but also political uses the people’s vulnerable nature for personal gains. There are news of corruption and false promises of progress to earn the trust of the people, but ended in unforeseen misfortunes and tremendous losses. There were instances in history where individuals introduced themselves as faith leaders that offer eternal salvation, but the true intentions of malice, deception, and betrayal are well hidden in shin cloaks and prayers. History tells the story of faith leaders that are using divine teachings to loot from the people and the believers to suffer unfortunate consequences. Orgon’s character is very real, it happens to real people and what has transpired in the play is something that occurs in reality.
Orgon saw Tartuffe as a beacon of hope for eternal salvation and piety stemmed from a personality that has gullible tendencies. Orgon is a good person, always loyal and stands for the sake of his friends. True enough, Orgon saw Tartuffe as a good friend with divine promises, but Orgon as a person of blind faith was weak enough to see the truth leading to an imminent demise. The problem with Orgon’s is his attitude that can easily lured into danger. Being a devotee is a positive attitude towards faith and believing in something is a manifestation of strength, but one should also see the light of things and see the truth behind everything.
Molière, and Richard Wilbur. Tartuffe; Comedy in Five Acts, 1669. New York, USA: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1963. Print.