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Which characters in Moliere's Tartuffe exemplify the theme of Religious Hypocrisy...

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jojo227 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted March 25, 2010 at 2:39 AM via web

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Which characters in Moliere's Tartuffe exemplify the theme of Religious Hypocrisy versus True Christian Virtue and how do you see this?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted March 26, 2010 at 1:10 PM (Answer #1)

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The title character, Tartuffe, is the character who exemplifies religious hypocrisy in Moliere's play. He lays claim to Christian acts , such as giving charity to the poor and unfortunate, when, in fact, he is engaged in immoral practices or acts, such seduction of a friend's wife. He also presents himself as a moral authority for those beneath him, giving them instruction in how to behave when his behavior is a moral shame.
The character Cléante is the representative of true Christian values and expounds to Orgon on the fact that true Christianity doesn't make a display of itself but lives a quiet virtuousness and practices what it preaches. He later remonstrates with Organ when the latter shows a vindictive retaliatory attitude toward Tartuffe who has been arrested. Cléante admonishes that true Christian values require them to hope for Tartuffe's repentance and for a lighter sentence to be past for his punishment.

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