Tartuffe, by Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known as "Moliere," is a satirical attack on religious hypocrisy.
The first version of Tartuffe was banned by King Louis XIV of France in 1664. The second version of the play, titled L'Imposteur (The Imposter), was banned in 1667. The third version of the play, Le Tartuffe, wasn't banned, and this is the version of the play which is now performed.
Even though King Louis actually liked the play and had it performed at court on several occasions, he banned the play from public performance to appease Roman Catholic Church leaders who objected to what they considered Moliere's attack on religion. The Church leaders missed the point. The play was an attack on religious hypocrisy and religious hypocrites—presumably including these same Church leaders—not religion itself.
Tartuffe wears a "mask" of humility, piety, virtue, and religious fervor. Dorine, the outspoken maid, sees right through Tartuffe's mask.
DORINE: The fellow [Tartuffe} knows his dupe [Orgon],...
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