In Moliere's Tartuffe, list two characters, their flaw, and what it prevents.

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In Moliere's Tartuffe, or The Impostor, Tartuffe is a professional in a world of amateurs. He's a professional conman, a hypocrite, and a high-functioning, psychologically astute sociopath. These are not his flaws. These are his tools.

Tartuffe's flaw is lust. Despite his many professional-level skills, his base, common lust...

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In Moliere's Tartuffe, or The Impostor, Tartuffe is a professional in a world of amateurs. He's a professional conman, a hypocrite, and a high-functioning, psychologically astute sociopath. These are not his flaws. These are his tools.

Tartuffe's flaw is lust. Despite his many professional-level skills, his base, common lust proves to be his downfall.

The other characters in the play are rank amateurs who try and fail to overcome Tartuffe's professional skills through sheer force of will and contrived circumstances designed to exploit Tartuffe's lust. If Tartuffe's lust wasn't quite so all-consuming and didn't so greatly influence his decisions to his detriment, and without the timely intervention of King Louis XIV, Tartuffe would never have been unmasked and exposed for the charlatan that he is, and his plans to control Orgon's family would likely have succeeded.

Members of Orgon's family have their individuals flaws, but with Tartuffe's arrival, Orgon's family becomes wholly dysfunctional. Tartuffe masterfully exploits their individual and collective flaws throughout the play. He manipulates the foolish and gullible Orgon and his opinionated, outspoken, and equally foolish mother, Madame Pernelle, and he minimizes Orgon's timid, submissive wife, Elmire.

Tartuffe convinces Orgon to break his weak-willed daughter Mariane's engagement to Valère, pushes Valère aside, and claims Mariane as his future wife. He discredits Orgon's hotheaded son, Damis, and causes him to be disowned and disinherited. He disenfranchises Orgon's brother-in-law, Cléante, seemingly the sole voice of reason in the family.

Tartuffe effectively disposes of any opposition within the family, and except for the involvement of the outsiders Dorine, the maid, and the King, Tartuffe would have achieved his goals of marrying Mariane and appropriating the family's wealth and property.

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Part of the genius that Molière displays in Tartuffe is the way he structures the play: the other characters present their versions of this character before the audience ever gets to see him. With this huge build-up, all based on conflicting viewpoints, audience expectations are high. Will he be saintly or monstrous? He is, of course, a combination of many virtues and vices. Tartuffe is a deeply flawed character who is fundamentally a sociopath. He cares for nothing and no one but himself, has no scruples about lying and manipulating his way into a life of comfort, evicts innocent people from their homes, and shows no remorse. His many flaws prevent others from seeing through him, at least for a while. Although Molière condemns Tartuffe's bad character and bad behavior, he also suggests that such characters are inevitable products of societies that overly value appearances.

All the characters—except the king, who is perfect and just—are flawed in some way. The idea that no one is above selfish motives is at the heart of this sometimes dark comedy. While Orgon is foolish to believe Tartuffe’s empty rhetoric and posturing, his family members largely fail to stand up to him. As they concoct flimsy schemes to unmask Tartuffe, he skillfully pits one against the other.

Marianne and Valère, for example, are true lovers destined to be together. Marianne’s flaw is disrespecting her father by opposing his wishes, but later, she gives in to his demand. Her actions prevent her union with her intended. Valère, who has pledged eternal devotion to Marianne, seems hypocritical when he blames her for her father’s decision. His flaw prevents him from valuing his fiancee's fidelity. While these flaws are mild compared to those of the other, more clearly malevolent characters, they contribute to the plot and thus to Molière’s indictment of hypocrisy.

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Mariane, Orgon's daughter, suffers from the flaw of being overly timid. She is in love and wants to wed Valere. However, Orgon wishes her to marry Tartuffe. Because she is so dutiful and afraid of her father, she doesn't expose Tartuffe to him as the hypocrite and con artist he is. Instead, she simply begs Orgon not to force her to marry him.

Another flawed character is Orgon's son, Damis. He is not very bright and does a poor job of trying to expose Tartuffe to his father. He reports to Orgon that Tartuffe is pursuing Elmire, Orgon's wife. A pro like Tartuffe, however, can easily discredit such a naive person as Damis by agreeing with what he overheard but putting his own spin on it. Once again, a character's flaw leads to Tartuffe not being exposed as a cheat and a fraud.

We can see how Tartuffe exploits people's weaknesses to keep his game going as long as possible.

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In Moliere's Tartuffe, one character with a flaw is Orgon. The wealthy man who "adopts" the impostor Tartuffe is naive and foolish. He judges Tartuffe's value based upon what the con man says and how holy he acts, but never looks for real evidence of Tartuffe's pious and Christian nature. Tartuffe puts on a great "act," but it is only that. Orgon never witnesses Tartuffe offering comfort or kindness to anyone—but he is too deluded to even notice. 

This flaw prevents the family from being happy. Orgon arranges for Tartuffe to marry his daughter Mariane (even though he has promised her to another, and a man she loves at that). Orgon does not believe his son Damis when he says he witnessed Tartuffe attempting to seduce Elmire. He prevents Tartuffe from being thrown out of the house because Orgon is so blind. Orgon also prevents his wife from feeling that her husband supports her when he will not believe her report about Tartuffe's inappropriate advances.

Madame Pernelle is Orgon's mother. She is also blind to Tartuffe's flaws. Had she been more willing to examine Tartuffe's behavior more closely, she might have joined the others in convincing Orgon that his house guest was a fraud. However, she scolds everyone, tells them that Tartuffe is trying to correct their immoral behavior (which they really don't engage in), and prevents the family from reasoning with Orgon and arranging for Tartuffe to be exposed and thrown out "on his ear" when he first arrives.

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