Tartuffe; Romanticism: Heine, Leopardi, Hugo

1.) I believe that the play Tartuffe is not anti-religious but instead is an attack on religion. The play’s title, “Tartuffe,” means hypocrite.  In 1664, when the play was written the Catholic Church as strong and disapproved of it because they felt it undermined the church. The main self righteous hypocrite character is a criminal posing as a holy man. He outwits a wealthily parisian man that was once an aid to the King. The idea that a man like Tartuffe could deceive an intelligent man so easily makes you think about how some religious leaders in the past have conned people out of money and their life savings. The play uses humor to get the audience to laugh at this scenario that could so easily happen back then and even today.

2.) Hugo’s Satan is a hero in the respect that the poem follows the characteristics of an epic hero as in the Hero’ journey. Hugo portrays Satan as a lonely hero, cast out of the world and as he falls to Hell, loses his angelic wings that are replaced with bat wings. He goes through a transformation and trial and in the end becomes the leader of Hell and evil doing. This entire poem describes that fall of Satan, unlike Dante’s Satan, where Satan’s life is described in detail after his descent to Hell. One pictures Satan as a hideous but in Hugo’s poem, Satan is pictured as more human-angel that lost his wings.

3.)  I was drawn to the poems “The Infinite’ and “To Himself’ by Giocomo Leopardi. Both poems have a lot of imagery and connect thoughts and feelings through nature. “To Himself,’ he is talking about love. He  says he wants to give up on his desire. Both poems are speaking to desire and the heartbreak it can cause. I think all of this is a form of despair. In “The Infinite,’ Leopardi is talking of his yearning to see things that he already hasn’t. He wants to go out an explore even if he dies in the end.  The wind that speaks to him and is an image of being alive and living life.

4 thoughts on “Tartuffe; Romanticism: Heine, Leopardi, Hugo

  1. Caitlin

    I like how you portrayed Hugo’s Satan as a hero. You made good use explaining how he transformed and went through trials. I didn’t think of this before.

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  2. sbutler12

    I agree with your response to the first question in that is was not anti-religious but more so an attack on religion and its figures due to disapproval of their actions at the time.

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  3. sehoyos

    It is true that those negative connotations towards the church exist today, and it is primarily because a few bad eggs ruin the bunch for many people. I think the play really attacks corruption exhibited by people, because like many institutions, from politics to innovations used for warfare, it is how people use and manipulate ideas, not the ideas themselves, that are bad.

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  4. jwmaring

    I like your remarks about Satan epitomizing the attributes of a superhero in a number of ways, as in The Hero’s Journey. This is because he definitely demonstrated some attributes in the story Hugo told that are remarkable in terms of endurance and fortitude.

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