Category Archives: Week 11

Tartuffe, Hugo, a young man loves a maiden, and to Sylvia

  1. Is Tartuffe in fact anti-religious, or does it only attack corruptions of religion?


Tartuffe is not anti-religious; rather it attacks the corruption and hypocrisy of dishonest piety. Cleante makes this distinction several times throughout the piece. When Orgon is blinded by Tartuffe’s act, Cleante tells him, “Those whose hearts are truly pure and lowly don’t make a flashy show of being holy. There’s a vast difference, so it seems to me, between true piety and hypocrisy… [Man] by transgressing Reason’s laws, perverts lofty aim or noble cause,’ (p.115, 71-74, 85-87). The characters not convinced of Tartuffe’s religious zeal try to make clear distinctions between a holy man and a hypocrite. For instance, a devote person will not condemn his neighbor and spread gossip. Chatter and scandal is spread by those who themselves have committed terrible deeds, so are trying to lessen their own faults by enhancing others. Later when Orgon comes to his senses about Tartuffe, he claims to be through with pious men and hates the whole false brotherhood. Cleante implores him to see reason and articulates that there is a distinction between religion and those who truly follow it, and those who manipulate it to advance their own interests. “Just because one rascal made you swallow a show of zeal which turned out to be hollow, shall you conclude that all men are deceivers, and that today, there are no true bleievers? Let the atheists make that foolish inference; learn to distinguish virtue from pretense,’ (p. 147, 45-50).

  1. In what respects is Hugo’s Satan a heroic figure? How does Hugo’s account differ from Dante’s?
Hugo's Satan

Hugo’s Satan

Hugo’s Satan is cast as a heroic figure because he is portrayed with emotions that we can relate to. A rebel, he is at first dumbfounded and grim, filled with horror and wishing for death as he falls into an endless chasm. Somber, he feels the angel within him dying and begins to feel regret. However, as long as he can see the sun and light, even far away, he can accept his fate. Suddenly the only sun left, though, begins to die, and he is filled with a crazed urgency. In desperation he chases the light, pleading not to be left alone, fearful to be left in darkness. He calls out to Jehovah like a lost child, repentant. As he flies for ten thousand years, he is given hope intermittently, just enough to keep him going. He is a creature to be pitied, broken and tired, filled with despair, and wishing not to become the monster he feels himself becoming. As Christians, repentance and forgiveness are pillars of faith, so we are meant to sympathize with the one who rebelled against God, then wished to atone for it.

There are some similarities to Dante’s Satan, who weeps with six eyes (perhaps this could convey remorse) and whose breath creates wind in Hell as Hugo’s creates hurricanes on Earth. Dante’s Satan also suffers the isolation from light, life, and warmth, like Hugo’s in his abyss. Satan is also just as much in Hell as his victim’s in Dante’s version, and Hugo’s suffers as well rather than be in control. Dante also describes that Satan is grotesque, while Hugo says he feels himself becoming a monster. However, Hugo assigns his Satan with many emotions, whereas Dante portrays him as a slobbering unfeeling giant.

  1. Discuss and compare the images in any two poems assigned for this week.


I chose “A Young Man Loves a Maiden’ by Heine and “To Sylvia’ by Leopardi. Both poems express a vivid sense of pain from love lost. The first is the romantic unrequited love of a young man who falls in love with a maiden who does not give him a second glance, even after she herself is spurned by another. It’s a poem of heartbreak that repeats itself throughout time. The poem to Sylvia is the love for a child or young woman, who died before her time. It tells of the lost potential, similar to the lost potential of the young man’s happiness, though this is the potential of a life that had yet to reach its prime. Leopardi weaves his sorrow more intricately, though it is also a tale that has unfortunately repeated time and again.

Week 11 Tartuffe and Romanticism

1.  Is Tartuffe in fact anti-religious, or does it only attack corruptions of religion?

I do not think Tartuffe is anti-religious however, I do believe his genuine comedy is in fact sarcasm with a negative connotation towards the church and some of its leaders.  I think much like today’s writings where the writers mock political figures in their writings, Moliere is mocking the Church and its political leaders through his writing.  This was also during a time when the church was taking on a lot of heat from people so I think Moliere through this into his writing so he could connect to people and make them laugh. I do not believe he is anti-religious

2.  In what respects is Hugo’s Satan a heroic figure? How does Hugo’s account differ from Dante’s?

Hugo’s Satan is displayed as a heroic figure more so because his story is told from the transformation of an angel into the devil we recognize today. Readers are exposed to a different side of Satan that we may be able to recognize more as he is given more human like characteristics and we are told of his journey to being sentenced to hell.  In Dante’s account, we are told of his stories after he has been sentenced to hell and all of the evil he creates down there.  Readers are also exposed to a darker description of Satan and more evil characteristics given to his physical description.

3. Discuss and compare the images in any two poems assigned this week

I am comparing Leopardi’s “The Infinite” and Heinrich Heine’s “A Pine is Standing Lonely”.  Both of these poems kind of talk about peace within people but they have different views.  In The Infinite, being alone with ones inner thoughts is described as the most peaceful place a human can be. In A Pine Standing Lonely, being alone or separated is described as something that is not good and that it is a way to make people lonely and unhappy.

Week 11

1. Is Tartuffe in fact anti-religious, or does it only attack corruptions of religion?

I do not believe that Tartuffe is anti-religious, I believe that the play is anti-hypocrisy and attacks the corruptions of religion. Tartuffe was a hypocrite, and he used his false faith to win over Orgon, also  while trying to seduce Orgon’s wife. Tartuffe is an used to show how people can manipulate and abuse people by lying and hypocrisy with faith and religion. Which when these lies are found, people look badly not only on the person but on the religion itself.

2. In what respects is Hugo’s Satan a heroic figure? How does Hugo’s account differ from Dante’s?

I do not think that Hugo’s Satan is a heroic figure, Satan was fighting with God so that he could overtake and gain the ultimate power. He was willing to give up everything for God’s power. After Satan is thrown to Hell, he then wanted nothing more than to inflict pain onto people and to God.

Hugo’s story differs from Dante’s in a couple different aspects. Hugo explains that Hell is just a vast dark and lonely land, where as Hell is Dantes are levels, levels that have people living out their sins for all of eternity . Dante’s Satan also was forever frozen  in the ninth level  chewing up the traitors, were with Hugo’s Satan, he was free to fly about Hell. Last Dante’s Satan cries for his punishments, were Hugo’s Satan is angry with God.

3. Discuss and compare the images in any two poems assigned for this week.

 I compared the poems “A Pine is Standing Lonely” by Heine and “The Infinite”. Both the poems talk about solitude, but from a positive perspective They both have a want to be somewhere new, different and go over how they can get there. In “A Pine” it is a poem about wanting to be somewhere new area. A want to be somewhere warm with sun.  In “Infinite” the writer talks about a man that yearns to go out and venture, with endless daydreaming and boundless areas.

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.

Discussion Questions 11 — Tartuffe; Romanticism: Heine, Leopardi, Hugo


  1. Is Tartuffe in fact anti-religious, or does it only attack corruptions of religion?

I believe that Tartuffe although very sarcastic toward religious figures was not meant to be interpreted as anti-religious. Tartuffe attacked the hypocritical figures of the church that were present in the time of its writing, and possibly still. I think that the corruption of  religion had been relevant for a long time and this is one of many outlets that we see from that time showing the frustration and discontent with the church and its clergy. It would seem a trend of artists to mock or elude to the wrongs of government or religion in their works, as it was a relatively  safe way to do so. In the end Tartuffe’s facade is seen through and he is imprisoned, overall I wouldn’t even begin to say this was anti-religious but just anti hypocrite.


  1. In what respects is Hugo’s Satan a heroic figure? How does Hugo’s account differ from Dante’s?

Hugo’s Satan was defined, the poem tells of his fall and his suffering, he is made relatable. “He had been falling in the abyss some four thousand years.”

Satan in Hugo’s poem regretted his fall, and choices and this also makes it possible to connect with him on a base level, because he had faults as we have. Hugo also uses transformation but in reverse from what we might think a hero’s journey would impart. Satan falls from being an angel to a demon or “monster”, gradually losing his grace and relishing in his despair, caused by God’s anger. Hugo’s Satan compared to Dante’s who was just the center of hell, imprisoned and ruling as the ultimate sinner, and a prison himself the most deserving sinners. Hugo shows the sorrow, regret and anger of Satan, either at himself or his projection at god.

  1. Discuss and compare the images in any two poems assigned for this week.

I have decided compare two poems from Giacomo Leopardi; “The Infinite” and “To Himself.  In “The Infinite” Leopardi refers to the endless space of eternity, daydreaming and envisioning the everlasting. He uses the images of sea and the sky to interpret the endlessness of eternity, while in the later poem “To Himself” he refers to the death of his last illusion, his belief in the eternal.

“…. The last illusion is dead, That I believed eternal….”

He also uses the word boundless, as he did in the earlier poem, to describe the emptiness of everything in contrast to the boundless silence used to summon eternity. One poem is light and reflective while the other utilizes dark imagery to convey despair in life and a wish or hope for death.

Righteous Tartuffe and Poems

  1. Is Tartuffe in fact anti-religious, or does it only attack corruptions of religion?

I don’t know if you are meaning to ask if Tartuffe himself is ant-religious or not, or the poem as a whole… I want to say though, that both are more so to the corruption of religion.   I think that Tartuffe may want to do his best at being the most righteous that he can be however he himself is seen by many in the poem as a “bigot’ and Dorine refers to him as a fraud.   The insults from many in the play are extensive.   It seems that many are under a mutual understanding that Tartuffe is a hypocrite and I would say slightly ruins to face of religion for the rest of them.   In Scene 3, Tartuffe is totally hitting on Elmire and is trying to cop a feel, “Feeling your gown; what soft, fine woven stuff!’.   When previously he was preaching to Dorine that she was showing too much of her bosom.   I think that Molière is poking fun at religion and the self- righteous through his play and Tartuffe himself.

  1. In what respects is Hugo’s Satan a heroic figure? How does Hugo’s account differ from Dante’s?

I wouldn’t agree that Hugo’s Satan is a heroic figure… but I guess in a way,   after his 10,000 year journey he finally found hell.   Hugo and Dante differ in many aspects, but I would say the one that sets them apart the most is what they describe hell as.   Dante has many different levels, while Hugo mentions that is incredibly dark and lonely.

  1. Discuss and compare the images in any two poems assigned for this week.

I found it somewhat difficult to interpret these poems, for they all seemed to be so depressing.   I can understand why they would be, for the writers all faced some trail and writing must have been an escape for them.   I think that the two poems that I liked the most however, were Leopardi’s “To Sylvia’ and “The Village Saturday’.   Both seemed similar (ironic, they had the same author), in a way that they portray the young, youthful, and beautiful younger ones, and then in a more depressing tone say, “hey, it won’t always be like this’.

“My child, enjoy the season,   I will not tell you more; but if the day Seems slow in coming, do not grieve too much’ (Leopardi line 46-48).

DQ 11

1. Is Tartuffe in fact anti-religious, or does it only attack corruptions of religion?

I don’t think that Tartuffe is anti-religion in the sense that the play is putting down religion itself but it is a progressive work in terms of pointing out that there are aspects of organized religion that were then, and perhaps will always be corrupted. Any extremely wealthy entity is likely to be vulnerable to corruption because of the association with power. In Tartuffe, the commentary is absolutely focused on that corruption of power where the primary symptom is hypocrisy, and where that would be ineffective without the blindness or foolishness of those who blindly follow power.

2. In what respects is Hugo’s Satan a heroic figure? How does Hugo’s account differ from Dante’s?

I feel like if we look at Hugo’s Satan in terms of what we have studied about the Hero’s Journey, then yes we have to call him a heroic figure. This is especially true when you look at Hugo’s account of Satan’s transformation, or journey. His fall from heaven, and this is also exactly the way that it is distinguished from Dante’s account where the devil was sort of a stationary figure. For Dante, the character of himself was the journeying hero and Satan made an appearance.

3. Discuss and compare the images in any two poems assigned for this week.

I suppose one of the clearest images to pull out of these poems is the concept of death as discussed in poems by Heine and then Leopardi. There’s also a ton of references to the natural world in poems by these two. In Heine’s Ah, death is like the long cool night, he really speaks of the coming end as a break and relieving gift, as does Leopardi in To Himself, although Leopardi whines a little more about why it will be such a relief to kick the old bucket.

Discussion 11

1. Is Tartuffe in fact anti-religious, or does it only attack corruptions of religion?
Well, it could be interpreted as “anti-religious,” but I doubt it was intended to be. Tartuffe, was in fact a hypocrite, which I believe was the moral of the story, because even though a person is religious, it is rare that anyone abides by the principles they teach. In addition it provided an example of how trusting a person merely on what they say could be dangerous, not just for people, but for a kingdom or society. I think, like a lot of writings from times of conflict, we will find hidden meanings giving alternate perspectives and how the world is through poetic reinterpretation. Corruption in a religion was portrayed in Tartuffe and I think the truths present gave the poem a contemporary meaning. Or really I guess this story could be useful in becoming aware of corruption in any circumstance, because the surface of an individual or idea could be covering hidden agendas or hypocrisy presentation of those beliefs.

2. In what respects is Hugo’s Satan a heroic figure? How does Hugo’s account differ from Dante’s?
La Fin de Satan (the end of mr Satan) gives us a different take of satan, one where he falls from heaven and morphs into a creature with remnants of human qualities such as a personality. Could satan in this poem be considered a hero? Of course, because one’s hero is another’s enemy and vise versa; just because Satan was cast from heaven does not mean that those who cast him out were in the right. I think the fact that Satan is a product of following what he believes no matter how dark the outcome, makes him a hero. Also if we compare him with some points of The Hero’s Journey, we will see the he can almost match up with the first half of the chart, ending in the abyss with the rebirth of Satan and the transformation of his image and outlook. Although that is where his journey ends, because he refuses to provide atonement for what he has done, which the knowledge of eternal darkness because of his refusal, adds a certain hero-esque quality to this satan character. Dante’s version of the devil is cold with bat winged chins who, according to this story, was once a perfect being shamed by ugliness, being a part of hell and not the master of it. Whereas in La Fin de Satan, Satan is presented through his journey, allowing the reader to better understand his position and character before he transforms into a beast, which is something Dante did not do.

3. Discuss and compare the images in any two poems assigned for this week.
The imagery of To Sylvia by Leopardi and A Pine is Standing Lonely by Heine, give a vivid picture of nature, yet also interpret the falseness of nature and the reality instead of the beauty it promised. In To Sylvia, such questions asked were why nature could not keep its promise, why the beauty could not remain in infinity through long life. Instead the reality is that we are mortal and even though we are eagerly trying to climb to the top of the mountain of youth, the journey’s completion is not certain, and even when we get to the top humans share the fate of death. To Sylvia is written with a lost tone, a feeling of being left behind. A Pine Standing Lonely, does describe loneliness, but also a wish to be somewhere else, not cold or frozen, but warm and peaceful with palm trees rather than desolate horizons. I liked how they both provided images of what the characters would be seeing, and they would augment what they see to how they want it to be. To Sylvia was the most imagery-dependent poem, because almost every idea was surrounded by words such with meanings of nature, or of innocence.

DQ 11

Tartuffe only attacks the corruptions of religion not religion itself. This is clear due to the direct statement of the author himself in the last paragraph of his preface where he discusses the interaction of the king and the prince. Where they discuss another play Scaramouche that did not follow the propriety concerning religion at the time where the religious leaders did not appear to care about that play. The interaction ended with the statement “It is because the comedy of Scaramouche makes fun of heaven and religion, which these gentlemen do not care about at all, but that of Molière makes fun of them, and that is what they cannot bear’ which points out who Tartuffe was directed at.

Hugo’s account differs from Dante’s in how he describes Satan and hell itself. In Hugo’s hell consists of a large amount of falling and a loss of light that goes with that falling. It also features loneliness shown through disappearing stars as one of its main forms of punishments that define what Satan is going through. Then when Satan reaches the ground he is surrounded by muck and mountains a very desolate landscape. While Dante’s hell on the other hand is surrounded by people who suffer together depending upon their crimes. With that suffering being of a more physical nature not the mental one that Hugo describes. As for Satan himself I would not describe him as heroic but as pitiable. For he seems like someone who knows that he has been abandon and yet tries so hard to have some form of companionship. That type of action is not heroic its desperation and a desperation that deserves pity.

Giacomo Leopardi’s The Infinite is a poem that talks about solitude in a positive format. He says that on the lonely hills that he currently sits on he imagines even more endless spaces and how the human silence is the deepest peace. Heinrich Heine’s A Pine Is Standing lonely also talks about solitude but instead of welcoming it the pine dreams of a warm land far to the east that also has a palm tree standing lonely in the sunburnt rock strand. Heine approach is that loneliness also means separation from those that you care about and that this can become all that you think about. While Leopardi says that sometimes solitude is that best thing that you can ever ask for.

Tartuffe and Poems

1. I think that that the story of Tartuffe discusses the corruption of religion, rather that attacking religion itself. Several times within the play the characters say as much. In act V scene 1 Organ is horrified at that Tartuffe was able to so thoroughly swindle and deceive him. While speaking to Cleante he declares “I’m through with pious men; Henceforth I’ll hate the whole false brotherhood, And persecute them worse than Satan could’ (147). Cleante refutes this assertion stating that Orgon can never take “the middle course but jump(s), instead, between absurd extremes’ (147). He believes that Orgon, attempting to refrain from more such mistakes, has chosen a worse path by choosing to “judge our worthy neighbors’, the clergy, “as a whole’ (147). Cleante’s role in the play is a voice of reason. It is likely that the voice of reason shows the authors true opinions on events within the play.

I think that one of the main purposes of this play is to teach discernment to society, parishioners, and anyone else interested in religion. The take away from the play is not “distrust those holding religious power’ rather, observe them and evaluate whether they are genuine. If they do not, themselves, practice what they preach they should not be esteemed. Tartuffe is called a hypocrite. For there to be such a person as a hypocrite, there must also be someone who is genuine. This leads me to believe that Tartuffe is attacking corruption rather than religion.

2. I don’t see that Satan is a heroic figure. His role is traditionally that of the deceiver, manipulator, and father of lies. I doubt that that displaying Satan as a heroic figure would have been Victor Hugo’s intent.

Satan stands firm against the opposition of God. He is willing to lose everything for the cause of overthrowing God. Some might count these attributes as heroic. The thought of gaining ultimate power, which seems to be Satan’s wished for prize, is enough motive to rebel against God. Satan stands strong in his belief and does not attempt to return to God. Some might call this accepting the call to adventure.

Dante very clearly describes Satan as a tormenter. His location is in the lowest circle of hell, chewing on the two most despicable sinners. Satan is portrayed as a creature who wants to inflict as much pain as possible on God and people. There is no hint of heroism in Dante’s portrayal of Satan.


3. Reading the poems, I noticed some comparable aspects of the imagery in the poems To Sylvia, and The Village Saturday, both by Giacomo Leopardi.

Both poems contain a young girl, portrayed full of life. Each poem intertwines imagery of nature such as flowers, the blue sky, and grass. In each poem, transitions to adulthood are described as “flowering’ (457, 459). The description of “fragrant May’(457) in the first poem and the imagery of roses and violets in the second, indicate that it is the summer months in both poems.

Each poem has a transition point in imagery. In To Sylvia, this occurs when Sylvia dies. The outlook of the speaker is bleaker, describing the darkness of when winter struck, bringing Sylvia’s death. Word choice such as “coldest death’ and “stark sepulcher’ allow us to see the speaker’s despair. In The Village Saturday, the transition comes as day turns to nighttime. It is as if everyone is on alert, anticipating the morning. The speaker tells us to “listen’ to the sounds of the night as last minute preparations are made by individuals “hurrying by lamplight’ (459).

The poems differ in that in To Sylvia, the only characters are Sylvia and the speaker. A slight mention is made of ambiguous “friends’. In The Village Saturday, numerous villagers are mentioned.