Tartuffe Questions and Answers: Act II

Moliere

Questions and Answers: Act II

Questions
1. According to Orgon, why should Mariane obey him?

2. Does Mariane defend herself well? Does she have help?

3. What does Dorine predict will occur if Mariane is forced to wed Tartuffe?

4. What causes the misunderstanding between Valère and Mariane?

5. What tactic, in addition to predicting infidelity, does Dorine resort to when confronting Orgon? Could you consider the tactic passive-aggressive?

Answers
1. Orgon is the father, and it is natural—especially in a patriarchal society—for everyone in a family to obey the father. Because her father loves her, Mariane should be grateful and comply with his every wish: “That’s well said, Daughter; and you can repay me / If, in all things, you’ll cheerfully obey me.”

2. Mariane is rather silent by nature. Although she is horrified at the thought of marrying Tartuffe, she does not give much of an argument. Instead, she relies on Dorine to confront Orgon for her.

3. Dorine predicts that Mariane will cheat on her new husband immediately. If Orgon persists in demanding that his daughter marry a man whom she hates, he will be responsible, in the eyes of heaven, for the sin of infidelity that she will later commit.

4. Neither Valère nor Mariane is sufficiently upset at the news that Orgon intends for his daughter to wed Tartuffe. Their masked indifference hurts each other. Valère is hurt that Mariane will obey her father. Mariane, in turn, is hurt when Valère feigns callousness and announces that he will simply find another woman. Eventually Dorine reconciles the two lovers.

5. Dorine directly confronts Orgon in a mocking tone. When he tells her to keep quiet, she persists by talking in asides, directing her commentary to the audience rather than to Orgon—although he can still hear her. This tactic of no longer addressing the person with whom she is arguing can certainly be construed as passive-aggressive. Eventually, Orgon tries to slap Dorine.