Study Guide

Tartuffe Tone

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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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