Short summary - Tartuffe, or The Impostor, or The Hypocrite - Molière - Jean-Baptiste Poquelin

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Tartuffe, or The Impostor, or The Hypocrite
Molière - Jean-Baptiste Poquelin

At the invitation of the owner, a certain M. Tartuffe settled in the house of the venerable Orgon. Orgone doted on him, considering him an incomparable model of righteousness and wisdom: Tartuffe's speeches were extremely sublime, teachings - thanks to which Orgone learned that the world is a big cesspool, and now he would not blink an eye, burying his wife, children and other loved ones - eminently useful, piety aroused admiration; and how selflessly Tartuffe blinded the morality of the Orgone family ...
Of all the household, Orgone's admiration for the newly-born righteous was shared, however, only by his mother, Mrs. Pernel. Elmira, Orgon's wife, her brother Cleant, Orgon's children Damis and Mariana, and even the servants saw in Tartuffe what he really was - a hypocritical saint, cleverly using Orgon's delusion in his unwise earthly interests: to eat deliciously and sleep softly, to have a reliable roof over your head and some other benefits.
Orgone's households were utterly disgusted with Tartuffe's moral teachings, with his worries about decency he scared away almost all his friends from the house. But as soon as someone spoke badly about this zealot of piety, Madame Pernel arranged stormy scenes, and Orgon, he simply remained deaf to any speeches not imbued with admiration for Tartuffe. When Orgon returned from a short absence and demanded that Doreen's servant report on the news of the house, the news of his wife's discomfort left him completely indifferent, while the story of how Tartuffe happened to gorge himself at dinner, then snooze until noon, and sip some wine at breakfast. filled Orgon with compassion for the poor man.
Orgon's daughter, Mariana, was in love with a noble young man named Valera, and her brother Damis, with her sister Valera. Orgon seems to have already agreed to the marriage of Mariana and Valera, but for some reason he put off the wedding. Damis, worried about his own fate - his marriage to his sister Valera was to follow the wedding of Mariana - asked Cleant to find out from Orgon what the reason for the delay was. Orgon answered questions so evasively and unintelligibly that Cleantus suspected that he had not decided to somehow dispose of his daughter's future.
Exactly how Orgon sees Mariana's future, it became clear when he told his daughter that Tartuffe's excellence needed a reward, and such a reward would be his marriage to her, Mariana. The girl was stunned, but did not dare to contradict her father. Doreena had to stand up for her: the servant tried to convince Orgone that to marry Mariana to Tartuffe - a beggar, a low-hearted freak - would mean to become the object of ridicule of the whole city, and besides, to push her daughter on the path of sin, for no matter how virtuous the girl was, not it is simply impossible to instruct a hubby like Tartuffe. Doreena spoke very passionately and convincingly, but, despite this, Orgon remained adamant in his determination to intermarry with Tartuffe.
Mariana was ready to submit to the will of her father - so she was told by the daughter's duty. Resignation, dictated by natural timidity and respect for her father, tried to overcome Doreen in her, and she almost succeeded in doing this, unfolding before Mariana vivid pictures of the conjugal happiness prepared for him and Tartuffe.
But when Valera asked Mariana if she was going to obey Orgon's will, the girl replied that she did not know. In a fit of despair, Valera advised her to act as her father ordered, while he himself would find himself a bride who would not change this word; Mariana replied that she would only be glad of this, and as a result, the lovers almost parted forever, but then Dorina arrived in time. She convinced young people to fight for their happiness. But only they need to act not directly, but in roundabout ways, to drag out for time, and then something will certainly be arranged, because everyone - Elmira, Cleant, and Damis - is against the absurd plan of Orgon,
Damis, disposed even too decisively, was going as Tartuffe should be brought under control, so that he would forget about marrying Mariana. Dorina tried to cool his ardor, to suggest that cunning could achieve more than threats, but she could not completely convince him of this.
Suspecting that Tartuffe is partial to Orgon's wife, Dorina asked Elmira to talk to him and find out what he himself thinks about marriage to Mariana. When Dorina told Tartuffe that the mistress wanted to talk to him face to face, the holy man perked up. At first, scattering before Elmira in heavy compliments, he would not let her open his mouth, but when she finally asked a question about Mariana, Tartuffe began to assure her that his heart was captivated by another. To Elmira's bewilderment - how is it possible, a man of a holy life and suddenly seized by carnal passion? - her admirer answered with fervor that yes, he is devout, but at the same time, he is also a man, saying that his heart is not a flint ... Immediately Tartuffe bluntly invited Elmira to indulge in the delights of love. In response, Elmira asked how, in Tartuffe's opinion, her husband would behave when he heard about his vile harassment. The frightened gentleman begged Elmira not to ruin him, and then she offered a deal: Orgon would not know anything, while Tartuffe, for his part, would try to get Mariana to go down the aisle with Valera as soon as possible.
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Damis spoiled everything. He overheard the conversation and, indignant, rushed to his father. But, as might be expected, Orgon believed not his son, but Tartuffe, who this time surpassed himself in hypocritical self-deprecation. In anger, he ordered Damis to get out of sight and announced that today Tartuffe would marry Mariana. As a dowry, Orgon gave his future son-in-law all his fortune.
For the last time, Cleanthe tried to humanly talk with Tartuffe and convince him to reconcile with Damis, to give up the unjustly acquired property and from Mariana - after all, it is not proper for a Christian to use a quarrel between a father and a son for his own enrichment, and even more so to condemn a girl to lifelong torment. But Tartuffe, a distinguished rhetorician, had an excuse for everything.
Mariana begged her father not to give her to Tartuffe - let him take the dowry, and she'd better go to the monastery. But Orgon, having learned something from his pet, without batting an eye, convinced the poor thing of the soul-saving life of her husband, who causes only disgust - after all, mortification of the flesh is only useful. Finally, Elmira could not stand it - since her husband does not believe the words of those close to him, he should personally make sure of the baseness of Tartuffe. Convinced that he will have to make sure just the opposite - in the high morality of the righteous, - Orgon agreed to climb under the table and from there overhear a conversation that Elmira and Tartuffe would have in private.
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Tartuffe immediately fell for Elmira's feigned speeches that she allegedly had a strong feeling for him, but at the same time showed a certain prudence: before refusing to marry Mariana, he wanted to get from her stepmother, so to speak, a tangible pledge of tender feelings. As for the violation of the commandment, which will be associated with the delivery of this pledge, then, as Tartuffe assured Elmira, he has his own ways of negotiating with heaven.
What Orgon heard from under the table was enough to finally crush his blind faith in the holiness of Tartuffe. He told the scoundrel to immediately get out, he tried to make excuses, but now it was useless. Then Tartuffe changed his tone and, before proudly retiring, promised to cruelly get even with Orgon.
Tartuffe's threat was not unfounded: firstly, Orgon had already managed to straighten out a deed of gift to his house, which from today belonged to Tartuffe; secondly, he entrusted the vile villain with a box with papers exposing his brother, who was forced to leave the country for political reasons.
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We had to urgently look for some way out. Damis volunteered to beat Tartuffe and discourage him from harming, but Cleanthe stopped the young man - with his mind, he argued, you can achieve more than fists. Orgone's household hadn't come up with anything like that when the bailiff, Mr. Loyal, appeared on the doorstep of the house. He brought the order to vacate Mr. Tartuffe's house by tomorrow morning. At this point, not only Damis's hands were combed, but also those of Dorina and even Orgon himself.
As it turned out, Tartuffe did not fail to use the second opportunity he had to ruin the life of his recent benefactor: Valera brought the news that the villain had given the king a box with papers, and now Orgon faces arrest for aiding his rebel brother. Orgon decided to flee before it was too late, but the guards got ahead of him: the officer who entered announced that he was arrested.
Together with the royal officer, Tartuffe came to Orgon's house. The family members, including Mrs. Pernel, who finally regained her sight, began to shame the hypocritical villain together, listing all his sins. Tom soon got tired of this, and he turned to the officer with a request to protect his person from vile attacks, but in response, to his great - and general - amazement, he heard that he had been arrested.
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As the officer explained, he did not actually come for Orgon, but to see Tartuffe go to the end in his shamelessness. The wise king, the enemy of lies and the bulwark of justice, from the very beginning had suspicions about the identity of the informer and turned out to be right as always - under the name of Tartuffe, a scoundrel and a swindler was hiding, on whose account a great many dark deeds. By his authority, the sovereign canceled the deed of gift to the house and forgave Orgon for indirectly aiding his rebellious brother.
Tartuffe was escorted to prison in disgrace, but Orgon had no choice but to praise the wisdom and generosity of the monarch, and then bless the union of Valera and Mariana.