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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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