Considering Tartuffe was written in the 17th century, you might expect the female characters to be soft-spoken, demure, and generally pretty dull. But that couldn't be further from the truth – well, except in the case of Mariane; she's soft-spoken, demure, and generally pretty dull. But Elmire and Dorine – that's a whole different story. Each one defies convention with gusto: they do some things that would still be audacious even today. They're quick-witted, strong-willed, and a bit saucy. They're a match for their male counterparts anytime, any day.
Molière portrays unconventional female characters not because he has progressive notions, but because their actions make for better theater.
Dorine and Elmire represent a real alternative to traditional gender roles; they are the real protagonists in Tartuffe, the only characters who are able to take action.