Tartuffe (Juilliard School)

First written in 1664, Tartuffe by Moliere, with adaptation by Richard Wilbur, is a satire in which Tartuffe, a knave, has worked his way into the confidence and affection of Orgon, a rich bourgeois with two grown daughters by his first marriage and a socially clever second wife, Elmira. Alarmed by a sense of failing authority, Orgon adopts an extreme religious severity in his dealings with his family which coincides with his discovery of Tartuffe, whose self righteousness and religious fervor supports Orgon’s tyranny over his family. The mountebank Tartuffe asks for the hand and thus the inheritance of Orgon’s daughter, Mariane. Meanwhile, he attempts to seduce Orgon’s wife. Orgon initially refuses to believe this, but cannot deny Tartuffe’s second attempt when Orgon is hiding in the room when it occurs. However, his realization of Tartuffe’s true intention appears to come too late, for Tartuffe has attained legal control of Orgon’s wealth and possessions. Only the intercession of the King saves Orgon from ruin and brings Tartuffe his just desserts.

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