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Tartuffe

Tartuffe

by Molière

Analysis: Tone

Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?

Nimble, witty, eccentric

Molière chose to write Tartuffe in rhyming verse. ("Chose" is key here, for sometimes, as with his follow up play, Don Juan, he wrote in prose.) As a result, things can sound a bit silly and nursery-rhyme-y when that same style is copied in English. However, it can also sound swift and smooth, or just plain eloquent. When Cléante tells Orgon, "Spare me your warnings, Brother;/ I have no fear of speaking, for you and Heaven to hear,/ Against affected zeal and pious bravery," that rhyming, the stuff you might expect to make his speech seem pompous really gives it that extra zip (1.5.9).

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