Tartuffe, Romanticism: Heine, Leopardi, Hugo

1.   Tartuffe is a comedy that uses sarcasms and exaggerations to expose the behavior of a hypocrite religious man, who managed to deceived the man (Orgon) that picked him up from the streets, and rescued him from poverty.  The writing piece provides a lesson to the society in how corruption can be infiltrated, even in Religion, in that a person can use faith to manipulate situations and to take advantage of people.  Tartuffe personality was of great mismatch between his truly intentions and his actions.  He portrayed a religious person, behaved and talked like one in front of others, especially Orgon, but his true intentions were of ambition and power.  It also provides with the opposing view of a true religious person, Cleante, which throughout the comedy, it preaches and encourages the family to act with self-discipline, compassion, composure and justice, the virtues of a devoted person.  Therefore, it is not about being anti-religious, is about teaching in a society, where the social order was dependent completely in the actions that others can see, that actions can be deceiving and not always depict the reality of the situations.  The social order and justice, cannot be dependent in merely actions; motives and intentions should also matter.

  1. In all this writing, I don’t see Satan as a heroic figure at all.  To me it just describes a spirit that was sentenced to prison.  The images of the poem of Victor Hugo are just describing the devil falling from Heaven into the abyss, and being transformed to a grotesque figure as he descends. In Dante and Hugo, both, described satan as being punished by God, for rebellion.  The difference is that in Dante, the devil’s sentence is to punish all the ones that have been traitors to God himself, such as Judas.

3.   In both poems, “To Himself’ by Leopardi, and “A death is like the long cool night’ by Heine, describes how sometimes fate in life makes people tired of living, makes them want to die.  In the first mentioned poem, life is compared to a vacuum, in which at the end, nothing is gained, everything is lost to fate.    In the second poem, life is being compared to a “sultry day’, in which the heavy sun and humidity asphyxiate you, because of the routine of the day as well as life problems depress people.  Both poems, describe the difficulty in having control of one’s life, because we always have to deal with unexpected circumstances that fate brings us.  It also demonstrates how humanity loses hope due to this effort and the frustrating truth, in that at the end, one has to leave everything behind when death knocks in our door.

One thought on “Tartuffe, Romanticism: Heine, Leopardi, Hugo

  1. geborgeson

    I think the point you make about motives and intentions being very important to someones actions is really pertinent to the time that Tartuffe was written in. In a time where people are more than willing to buy their salvation it becomes really easy to see how it could be easy to abuse a holy position. Orgon’s shortsightedness to see Tartuffe’s intentions is whats this play is about, but the religious context makes it easy to point out.

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