Dehumanized Tartuffe, Humanized Satan, and Bittersweet Poems


Tartuffe definitely only attacks the corruptions of religion. Moliere’s characters  Cleante and Dorine are written as counterpoints and examples of proper, decent religion. They both have lengthy speeches about men that are religious and not hypocritical being the pinnacle of humanity. When Orgon finds out about Tartuffe’s attempted seduction (or actual sexual assault, depending on the staging of the production) he condemns all pious men. Cleante then scolds him and says that if you can only be one extreme between condemning and trusting all pious men, it’s better to ere on the side of trust because most religious people are good and trustworthy. I believe that this is Moliere writing in the central message of his play.


Hugo’s Satan goes through the majority of the steps of the Hero’s Journey. I’m missing a clear goddess or temptress, but most of the trials other than that fit. Hugo’s Satan is also represented in a more human way. His emotions are presented for the audience to empathize with, which is a fascinating way to write about the devil. Hugo’s version of Hell seems a more elegant and simplistic version than the one presented by Dante. All of the levels and historical figures were almost lavish and distracting compared to the one guide of Satan in Hugo’s version.


The Village Saturday  and  A Young Man Loves a Maiden are connected in a subtle way that is fascinating to examine. I have trouble describing why the two are connected, but I felt so strongly that they were after reading them that I had to choose the two to examine. Both poems feel wistful.  The Village  is about innocence and village life. Its style is more dense and flowery than  A Young Man   but nonetheless, it expressed two parts of a story. Innocence and simple joys described in The Village  are then wasted by young adults of  A Young Man.  I don’t think it’s an entirely pessimistic comparison, though. Both poems feel like an eternal story that is repeated and shared by all generations. And though neither ends completely happily, the cycle continues and humans connect through the shared experience. Though the young man has his heart broken, he will have children someday that live through the simple pleasures of childhood, rush into adulthood, and also have their hearts broken. The cycle is filled with sadness and joy – the definition of bittersweet.

One thought on “Dehumanized Tartuffe, Humanized Satan, and Bittersweet Poems

  1. emrickrachel

    I did not think of Dante’s version of Satan in that way. I agree that the different levels of Hell and people in it were sort of distracting from Devil himself. However, I think that Dante was trying to show the evil of Satan through the punishments of the different circles and people. But I would say that Hugo’s Satan is presented in a more raw manner.

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