Marriage is many things in Tartuffe. It's political; that is, it's just as much about making alliances as it is about love. It is about love, of course, but the workings of love are hampered throughout the play. We're told that marriage is ultimately decided by the father of the bride. We're also told, however, that a father's mistake will cost him dearly, that the bonds of marriage are only as good as the match that's been made. All this is to say that marriage is important. Without the drama between Orgon, Mariane, Valère, and Tartuffe, there would basically be no play at all.
Questions About Marriage
- Where does marriage fit into Tartuffe? Sure, it drives the plot forward, but why is it chosen to do so?
- Tartuffe ends with a wedding, like many – perhaps most – comedies. Does the conventionality of the ending make it any less enjoyable or compelling?
- Does Elmire's position as second wife change her status in Orgon's house? Would the role be different if she were his first?
- Damis's interest in resolving the Mariane/Tartuffe wedding crisis is based on his own desire to marry Valère's sister. Is there anything wrong with that?
Chew on This
In Tartuffe, marriage functions as both a political tool and a manifestation of true love.
In Tartuffe, Molière introduces a marital conflict into the play in order that he might explore issues related to it, namely adultery and the role of women in society.