Humorous exhumation hypocrisy in Moliere's Tartuffe - Essay Example

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In general, satire is a literary term that refers to a literary manner or technique to criticize social, political and moral vices in a humorous way for the purpose of instruction or the improvement of humanity mainly for the purpose of change for the better. …
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Humorous exhumation hypocrisy in Molieres Tartuffe
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Download file to see previous pages For an instance, the US involvement in the Iraq War can be described satirically as following:
Mr. Bush, the President, along with his whole Army led an enterprise in Iraq to beat in the bush. But what he got there ultimately kept him busy with beating about the bush in America. Finally, the innocent Americans with blood-washed hands raised their voice: “Mr. Bush! Will you please stop beating around the bush? Now It is time to hear about the truth!”
The salient ingredients of satire are humor, criticism and moral tone. The object of satire can be any foul and objectionable idea, concept and practice in either an individual or a group. The main literary tool of satire is the use of both sarcastic and mild ironies, sarcasm, exaggeration, etc. But sarcastic satires often pivot on bitterly cynical denunciation that tends to injure its intellectual brilliance. For example, if one says, “Once upon a time, in Iraq the Americans would chop the tender Iraqi boys and girls and prepared the dishes for the leaders”. This line is not satirical; rather it is sarcastic because it lacks humor as well as wit. Yet a satire can refer to some socially acknowledged taboos such as obscene sexuality, invectives against religion, etc. Griffin Dustin defines satire as following:
Satire is a wit contest, a kind of game in which the participants do their worst for the pleasure of themselves and their spectators. . . . If the exchange of insults is serious on one side, playful on the other, the satiric element is reduced. (Dustin 23)
Indeed a satire attacks foolishness, follies, vices, wrongs, etc by making fun of them wittily. Moliere’s “Tartuffe” is such a successful satire that humorously criticizes the religious hypocrisy during the latter half of the Seventeenth Century. Moliere has declared the moral purpose of the play in bold line in the preface of the play: “distinguish clearly the character of the hypocrite from that of the truly devout man” (Moliere 2). On the surface level, he depicts Tartuffe as a devoutly religious character. But the underlying message of the play is that Tartuffe is ultimately a fraud under the religious apparel. Obviously in the play, the object of his satire is to criticize the late seventeenth century religious hypocrisy with humor and wit. The most remarkable passage that is significant for its role in the satire as a whole is as following: Your husband? Why concern about that rube? He drinks in every story like a boob! If he caught us, en flagrante, that dull lout, He'd offer up to God a joyful shout! And even when he realized, that clown, He'd chastise you, be careful of your gown! (Act IV Scene V) This passage -in fact, one of Tartuffe’s speeches- is the most precious part of the satire as a whole. Its satirical role is double-folds. On one hand, it exhumes the filthy nature of Tartuffe before his most devout follower, Oregon, who is hiding beneath the table. Indeed such exhumation of Tartuffe’s fraudulence before his most obedient devotee significantly refers to the witty and humorous exhumation of the hypocrisy of Moliere’s contemporary religious institution. On the other hand, it criticizes the blind faith of Oregon, generally the commoners while evoking the convulsion of laughter of the audience. Obviously Oregon stands for the death of common sense that is an essential part of a satire. At the beginning of the play he has been fooled by Tartuffe and remains befooled till this episode. Therefore this passage also contains the moral and pedagogic part of Moliere’s satire. Here Moliere opens Oregon’s as well as the audience’s eyes. In this passage, it is as clear as broad daylight to both Oregon and the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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