Molière's George Dandin, The Misanthrope, and Tartuffe never have an isolated target, but two coupled targets: Dandin and the Sotenville, Alceste and Célimène, and Tartuffe and Orgon. Moreover, the outcomes of these plays stage, in different ways each time, social mechanisms involving all the main characters. By analyzing and comparing the comic couplings and the outcomes, to what extent we can say that Molière uses these dramatic tools from a social rather than a moral perspective? That is to say, that he would paint less of a "character" than the analysis of interdependent behaviors inscribed in a determined and determining social context.

Molière uses comic coupling in George Dandin, The Misanthrope, and Tartuffe from a social rather than moral perspective because each play revolves around issues of social class and social etiquette to which morals takes a backseat.

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The three Molière plays in question—George Dandin, The Misanthrope, and Tartuffe—use comic couplings from a social rather than moral perspective because, in all three stories, society provides the foundation for the action. Whatever moral quandaries the characters confront, it’s reasonable to argue that any anxieties over right and wrong take a backseat to social class.

While audience members might think of the de Sotenville family as lacking in morals, the moral perspective yields to the myriad social rules that govern George Dandin and his family in law. It’s from this social perspective that one can see how judgmental and manipulating members of a certain social class can be. If Angélique’s dad wasn’t a gentleman, and if Dandin wasn’t a wealthy commoner, the play would be quite different.

Something similar can be said about The Misanthrope. It’s not hard to understand why Alceste wants to remove himself from his milieu. At the same time, Alceste is a part of the very social class that he castigates. If Alceste wasn’t a member of this privileged social class, he wouldn’t have this problem with hypocrisy. Thus his dilemma is foremost social.

Orgon’s problem, too, is more social than moral. If Orgon did not own property or have wealth to extract, Tartuffe wouldn’t have tried to con him. Once again, Orgon’s predicament is due to his own position in society instead of a general, classless moral conundrum.

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