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The King appears only towards the end of the play. He is depicted as an all-wise, benevolent monarch who is only interested in dispensing justice. It is the King who is able to save the family from Tartuffe's wicked machinations. King Louis XIV is not mentioned by name, but Moliere's audience would understand that he is the monarch in question. The surprise ending is called a 'deus ex machina" ending (A god coming out of a machine). It is a rather clumsy contrivance which solves an otherwise impossible situation, hearkening back to ancient Greek tragedies in which a god would be drawn onto the stage in a sort of chariot suspended from ropes and would rescue the hero from certain death by carrying him into his chariot and being drawn away. King Louis XIV was persuaded to censor Moliete's play because the clergy considered it defamatory to the church.
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