“Tartuffe” and “Candide or the Optimism” Comparison

“Tartuffe” by Moliere

When it comes to the “high comedy,” “Tartuffe” by Moliere is an outstanding example. The play was not put up on the stage for a long time because of its religious context. One of the complex characters in “Tartuffe” and Moliere’s plays, in general, is Orgon. He is a good servant of his king and manages his property with dignity. Before the play starts, he is described as a reasonable man, honored by friends and family. Therefore, the final of the play seems even more strange.

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Orgon, a central character in the play, comes under the influence of the religious hypocrite Tartuffe. Being a middle-aged man, Orgon probably needed some devotion to a spiritual person, and Tartuffe pretended to be the one. Being enchanted by Tartuffe, Orgon changes his attitude towards his close people. At that time, a father had much power over the family. Orgon makes use of it to influence his children to gain upon Tartuffe. Realizing that Mariane, his daughter, is an obedient girl, he persuades her to show attraction to Tartuffe and then marry him. In fact, he intimidates the daughter with her love and respect for the father. In answer to her words “I’m deeply grateful for your fatherly love” he responses “Well said, Daughter, and if you want that love to continue, all you have to think about is pleasing me” (Moliere, 2012). It looks like a bad joke and Dorine, Mariane’s maid laughs at the situation. Later she tries to convince Mariane to say no to her father, but it contradicts the principles of which the girl was brought up, Mariane says: “But a father has so much power over us that I’ve never had the strength to say anything” (Moliere, 2012), and this is the influence of the father’s role.

Orgon’s relations with his son, Damis, are also far from being perfect. When it comes to Tartuffe’s attempts to seduce Elmire, Orgon’s wife, Damis comes to his father to reveal Tartuffe’s evil nature, but Orgon preferreds to believe Tartuffe. He says to his son: “You traitor! How dare you tarnish his purity with such lies?” (Moliere, 2012). When Damis tries to talk to the father about the unwanted marriage of his sister, Orgon gets mad: “Yes, ingrate, and I’ll do it tonight just to spite you. Ha! I defy you all; you’ll see that you must obey me, that I’m the master here” (Moliere, 2012). Finally, Damis decides to leave, and the father pronounces a curse upon him: “Hurry up! Out of here. I’m taking away your inheritance and giving you my curse” (Moliere, 2012).

In general, it is evident that the role and power of a father are strong in the play. Unfortunately, Orgon uses it in the wrong way, not for the good of his children, but to please his hypocritical friend.

“Candide or the Optimism”

“Candide or the Optimism” is a philosophic and satiric novel by a notorious Enlightenment writer Voltaire. This story tells about a young man Candide and the troubles he founds in his wandering around the world. Partially due to “Candide” Voltaire is considered a satiric writer. Humour is a significant part of the novel. It helped Voltaire to criticize the society of his time, for without the humor that critique would have been too sharp.

Most of the chapters contain humor, irony, and satire. Chapter 9 ” What became of Cunegunde, Candide, the Grand Inquisitor, and a Jew” is one of the examples. Issacar, “the most irascible Hebrew” (Voltaire, 2013), attacked Candide and was killed, as Candide had a sword. Cunegunde was scared and did not know what to do. Candide regretted that Pangloss, his teacher, had been hanged, for he could give good advice. Hence, they decided to ask an old woman. At that time, His Eminence the Inquisitor entered the door and saw the whole scene with a dead man on the floor and Candide with a sword in his hands. Candide had no other choice but to kill the Inquisitor as well. After all, the old woman advised them to saddle the horses and to ride away.

The chapter appears to be a parody of an adventure story. It has the essential features of a romantic adventure novel, like swordplay and action, but represented with humor. The humor is in Candide’s treatment of the situation. Seeking for someone to ask for advice, he says: ” ‘If Pangloss had not been hanged, …’ he would have given us some good advice in this predicament, for he was a great philosopher. Since he’s not here, let’s ask the old woman (Voltaire, 2013), thus comparing a known philosopher and an old lady. The justification of the second murder is both odd and funny: ” He is my rival. I’ve already started killing. There’s nothing else for it (Voltaire, 2013). In general, Candide approves his actions in the following way: ” when a man’s in love, jealous, and flogged by the Inquisition, there’s no knowing what he may do (Voltaire, 2013).

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On the whole, the task of the humor in Voltaire’s Candide is to show the influence of life on people. The society of that time was sinful, although pretending to be devoted to the church. The humorous approach made the novel bright, and the real-life of the time, although exaggerated, is clearly traced.


Moliere (2012). Tartuffe. London, UK: Oberdon Books.

Voltaire (2013). Candide. London, UK: Penguin Books.

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