Tartuffe Themes

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Religious Hypocrisy versus True Christian Virtue

The central theme of Tartuffe is the exploration of religious hypocrisy in contrast to true Christian virtue. Tartuffe is a hypocrite because he creates an outward appearance of extreme piety and religious devotion while secretly leading a life of crime and immoral behavior. Throughout the play, various characters refer to Tartuffe as a hypocrite and can see clearly that he does not practice what he preaches. For example, Tartuffe instructs his servant to tell anyone who asks that he is busy giving out charity to the poor and downtrodden—whereas, in fact, he is busy trying to seduce the wife of his friend. Tartuffe also displays an outward show of religious devotion by assuming a stance of moral authority and telling everyone else in the household how to behave.

In contrast to Tartuffe's hypocritical behavior in regard to religious devotion, Molière...

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This section contains 1,002 words
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Buy the Tartuffe Study Guide
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Drama for Students
Tartuffe from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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