Tartuffe; Romanticism: Heine, Leopardi, Hugo

1) I did not see any evidence in Tartuffe that would lead me to characterize the work as being anti-religious. I instead would say Tartuffe was a work meant to draw attention to perceived wrongs which occur at the hands of men of the Church. The belief was that unscrupulous individuals of the Church were all too often acting out under their moral presumption to do what is right in the eyes of God, but the result of their actions to the questioning observer appeared to indicate that these actions were related more to self-serving machinations.

My reasoning is apparent because Madam Pernelle and Orgon were two individuals who were totally swept away by Tartuffe’s image of righteousness. The others in the story had apprehensions about Tartuffe, but their beliefs could not sway Orgon or Madam Pernelle until it was almost too late. In the end, Tartuffe got what was coming to him, and everyone in the story grew more aware of the potential for wolves that lurked in sheep’s clothing.

2) I interpret Hugo’s Satan to be one who has fallen into the abyss, and no matter what he has done to try and absolve himself of his actions or transgression, he keeps falling further and deeper, and God’s light keeps setting far off into the distance. He is even depicted as flying towards the light for ten thousand years. This was part out of will, part out of necessity as he had no physical location to stop and perch. This seems to mean that despite one’s actions in life, if that person were not judged to be moral in the afterlife, they will be forever punished for not making better choices while they were alive on Earth.

Hugo’s account seems to revolve around Satan himself, and not around the various worldly figures we saw throughout history that Dante observed suffer eternal damnation in Hell. We never saw the Devil trying to get out of Hell, but rather a steady decent towards him of all who perished to Hell after death, And we saw the Devil placed at the center of Earth, whereas Hugo demonstrated that he could only continue to fall further and further into the abyss.

3) In To Sylvia, we see a narrative directed at the author’s young girl who sadly died at a young age. She brought much joy to the author in her life, and he cannot bring himself to bear with the thought of such a young girl, with all the joy in her eyes in anticipation of life ahead, being robbed essentially before those dreams are fulfilled. In The Village Saturday, the author counsels a young boy of the joy ahead of him as he will soon enter into adolescence and adulthood. The author advices him to not agonize over experiencing every little joy too soon however, as everything will come with time. The message seems to be as if the author almost envies the boy, because he wishes himself he could undertake life’s pleasures all over again. What we see in both of these poems is an embrace of worldly adventures and experiences, and not an emphasis on enjoying what paradise in the afterlife has to offer those who live life righteously in accordance with strict Christian practices.