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Moliere and Swift

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In Tartuffe, we see two characters who act with supposedly pious intentions: Tartuffe and Orgon. Tartuffe is the most blatant hypocrite in the play because he pretends to be pious in order to elevate himself in social rank so he can enjoy a life of luxury. Orgon has an unquestioning belief that Tartuffe is as good as he claims, and it seems odd that Orgon should put his faith in and rule his household solely on Tartuffe's guidance. This opens up the question of self-governance. As Dorine says, "A father's power is great", and this is at the bottom of the comedy. Orgon wants to be the only autonomous person in his house, but his is constantly challenged by the competing desires of the others and by his faith that Tartuffe knows best.

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First, as you compare Tartuffe and Orgon as leaders, I think that both fail as leaders because of their immoral, hypocritical, and dishonest stances and convictions. However, if I had to choose one, I feel that Tartuffe is better suited based on his success and ability to effectively persuade and lead others, like many of today's politicians, even though he was definitely evil.

Conversely, you might explore how Orgon's actions and motives make him seem weaker, less capable as a leader and more like someone who is acting like a child and needs to be ruled by an authority figure. Tartuffe's ability to appear so devout and pious allows him to take full control of Orgon's life and family. Tartuffe is so convincing in his leadership skills that Tartuffe's idea of marrying his daughter to Tartuffe and going so far as to disinherit his own son reinforce that Tartuffe, though deceitful, was compelling as a leader. Since Orgon is unable to see through Tartuffe's lies even though his friends and family warn him, I deem Orgon as weaker.

Next, as you look at Orgon's household challenges, he seems to exhibit a sense of religious and moral ...

Solution Summary

Two pieces by Moliere and Swift are assessed.