What is an analysis of Dorine's character in the play Tartuffe?

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Dorine is very much a stock character: the "wise servant." In this role, she acts almost as a Greek chorus , supplying the audience with a running commentary on events. She highlights certain negative character traits of the foolish members of the upper-classes, with which she's surrounded. There's a substantial...

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Dorine is very much a stock character: the "wise servant." In this role, she acts almost as a Greek chorus, supplying the audience with a running commentary on events. She highlights certain negative character traits of the foolish members of the upper-classes, with which she's surrounded. There's a substantial element of social satire here as Molière presents us with a far from flattering portrayal of the French social elite.

Right from the start, Dorine sees right through Tartuffe, while her alleged social betters are beguiled by the warm words and overpowering charisma of this irredeemable charlatan. Amidst all the hypocrisy and delusion, she is a voice of sanity; her openness and honesty provides the audience with some much-needed relief from the vapidity and mendacity that the other characters exhibit.

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Dorine in “Tartuffe” is a very independent minded character.  As a servant, she should fade into the background and speak only when addressed.  However, Dorine is far different from the typical servant (or woman) of her day.  Mme. Pernell is the first one to point this out when she says, “Girl you talk too much and I’m afraid/You’re far too saucy for a lady’s maid” (1.1). Dorine is not afraid to express herself to any member of the family, and when she speaks, she sees through the heart of the matter to the truth.  For example, when Dorine hears Orgon telling Mariane she should marry Tartuffe, she is not afraid to step in and have her say: “There’s lately been a rumor going about--/Based on some hunch or chance remark, no doubt/That you mean Mariane to wed Tartuffe/I’ve laughed it off, of course, as just a spoof.” (2.2).  Unlike most of the women of her time, Dorine is not afraid to speak up against her employer.  Dorine is not afraid to speak out against the tradition of arranged marriages.  She is an independent, strong woman in a time when such a woman was an anomaly.

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