Study Guide

Tartuffe Sin

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We hear some strange opinions about sin in Tartuffe. Madame Pernelle tells everyone that Tartuffe is the authority as far as sin's concerned. Nobody listens of course…well, except for Orgon. Now, you may be wondering what separates "sin" from "morality and ethics." Truth is, they're intimately related. But in this case, it's a matter of specifics. Tartuffe manages to ignore so many real, Christian rules about proper behavior – even as he's pretending to be the authority on it – that you can't help but be reminded of the particular rules he's breaking.

Questions About Sin

  1. Tartuffe's approach to sin is simple: everything you do is wrong, he says, while everything I do is right. Putting aside the second part of the statement, what do we do if Tartuffe actually is correct about the sins of others?
  2. Is hypocrisy the worst sin committed in Tartuffe?
  3. Tartuffe does a number of things that directly contradict Christian teachings about sin. Do we need to understand these particular references to see that Tartuffe is a bad guy?

Chew on This

However much of a wrongdoer he is, Tartuffe's actions actually teach us about sin, inasmuch as he shows us what not to do.

In the end, we learn that sins can and should be forgiven, that even Tartuffe has a chance at redemption.

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