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by Molière

Tartuffe Act 4, Scene 3 Summary

  • Orgon comes in and interrupts their brainstorming session before it's even begun.
  • He has the marriage contract in his hand and wants Mariane to sign it.
  • Mariane pleads with her father, asking him not to force the marriage upon her. She tells him that she'll hate her life.
  • The girl says, that if Orgon insists she not marry Valère, the least he could do is not force her to marry Tartuffe.
  • She alludes that if the marriage is forced on her she may take some unspecified "desperate course" (4.3.2).
  • Orgon is moved a bit by her appeal, but he stands firm.
  • Mariane goes on, telling him that he can give Tartuffe his property and, if he wishes, her own inheritance, but that she would rather live in a convent than wed Tartuffe.
  • Orgon acts as though Mariane is just being a silly little girl. Then he drops a real bomb on her: the more you hate your husband, he says, the more virtuous you'll be!
  • Dorine attempts to get a word in, but she's denied. As is Cléante.
  • Elmire steps into the fray and tells Orgon what a gullible dope he is.
  • Orgon accuses her of being "partial" to Damis, implying that the whole thing was a ploy to discredit Tartuffe. If it were the real deal, he says, you should have been angrier.
  • Elmire resents Orgon's claims, and tells him that she prefers to play it cool. She's not a catty prude, she tells him, but a classy broad.
  • When Orgon still won't budge, Elmire tells him that she can show him that she, Damis, and everyone else is telling the truth.
  • Though Orgon resists, Elmire convinces him to at least give her a chance.
  • Elmire tells Dorine to fetch Tartuffe and gets everyone else, save Orgon, to leave the room.

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