Tartuffe; Or, The Hypocrite

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Tartuffe; Or, The Hypocrite



About this book

Tartuffe, or The Impostor, or The Hypocrite (/tɑːrˈtʊf, -ˈtuːf/;[1] French: Tartuffe, ou l'Imposteur, pronounced [taʁtyf u lɛ̃pɔstœʁ]), first performed in 1664, is a theatrical comedy by Molière. The characters of Tartuffe, Elmire, and Orgon are considered among the greatest classical theatre roles.

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Tartuffe; Or, The Hypocrite, by Molière
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Tartuffe; Or, The Hypocrite, by Molière

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Jean Baptiste Poquelin, better known by his stage name of Moliere, stands without a rival at the head of French comedy. Born at Paris in January, 1622, where his father held a position in the royal household, he was educated at the Jesuit College de Clermont, and for some time studied law, which he soon abandoned for the stage. His life was spent in Paris and in the provinces, acting, directing performances, managing theaters, and writing plays. He had his share of applause from the king and from the public; but the satire in his comedies made him many enemies, and he was the object of the most venomous attacks and the most impossible slanders. Nor did he find much solace at home; for he married unfortunately, and the unhappiness that followed increased the bitterness that public hostility had brought into his life. On February 17, 1673, while acting in "La Malade Imaginaire," the last of his masterpieces, he was seized with illness and died a few hours later.

The first of the greater works of Moliere was "Les Precieuses Ridicules," produced in 1659. In this brilliant piece Moliere lifted French comedy to a new level and gave it a new purpose—the satirizing of contemporary manners and affectations by frank portrayal and criticism. In the great plays that followed, "The School for Husbands" and "The School for Wives," "The Misanthrope" and "The Hypocrite" (Tartuffe), "The Miser" and "The Hypochondriac," "The Learned Ladies," "The Doctor in Spite of Himself," "The Citizen Turned Gentleman," and many others, he exposed mercilessly one after another the vices and foibles of the day.

His characteristic qualities are nowhere better exhibited than in "Tartuffe." Compared with such characterization as Shakespeare's, Moliere's method of portraying life may seem to be lacking in complexity; but it is precisely the simplicity with which creations like Tartuffe embody the weakness or vice they represent that has given them their place as universally recognized types of human nature.




  MADAME PERNELLE, mother of OrgonORGON, husband of ElmireELMIRE, wife of OrgonDAMIS, son of OrgonMARIANE, daughter of Orgon, in love with ValereCLEANTE, brother-in-law of OrgonTARTUFFE, a hypocriteDORINE, Mariane's maidM. LOYAL, a bailiffA Police OfficerFLIPOTTE, Madame Pernelle's servant

The Scene is at Paris




  MADAME PERNELLECome, come, Flipotte, and let me get away.

  ELMIREYou hurry so, I hardly can attend you.

  MADAME PERNELLEThen don't, my daughter-in law. Stay where you are.I can dispense with your polite attentions.

  ELMIREWe're only paying what is due you, mother.Why must you go away in such a hurry?

  MADAME PERNELLEBecause I can't endure your carryings-on,And no one takes the slightest pains to please me.I leave your house, I tell you, quite disgusted;You do the opposite of my instructions;You've no respect for anything; each oneMust have his say; it's perfect pandemonium.


  MADAME PERNELLEYou're a servant wench, my girl, and muchToo full of gab, and too impertinentAnd free with your advice on all occasions.

  DAMISBut …

  MADAME PERNELLEYou're a fool, my boy—f, o, o, lJust spells your name. Let grandma tell you thatI've said a hundred times to my poor son,Your father, that you'd never come to goodOr give him anything but plague and torment.

  MARIANEI think …

  MADAME PERNELLEO dearie me, his little sister!You're all demureness, butter wouldn't meltIn your mouth, one would think to look at you.Still waters, though, they say … you know the proverb;And I don't like your doings on the sly.

  ELMIREBut, mother …

  MADAME PERNELLEDaughter, by your leave, your conductIn everything is altogether wrong;You ought to set a good example for 'em;Their dear departed mother did much better.You are extravagant; and it offends me,To see you always decked out like a princess.A woman who would please her husband's eyesAlone, wants no such wealth of fineries.

  CLEANTEBut, madam, after all …

  MADAME PERNELLESir, as for you,The lady's brother, I esteem you highly,Love and respect you. But, sir, all the same,If I were in my son's, her husband's, place,I'd urgently entreat you not to comeWithin our doors. You preach a way of livingThat decent people cannot tolerate.I'm rather frank with you; but that's my way—I don't mince matters, when I mean a thing.

  DAMISMr. Tartuffe, your friend, is mighty lucky …

  MADAME PERNELLEHe is a holy man, and must be heeded;I can't endure, with any show of patience,To hear a scatterbrains like you attack him.

  DAMISWhat! Shall I let a bigot criticasterCome and usurp a tyrant's power here?And shall we never dare amuse ourselvesTill this fine gentleman deigns to consent?

  DORINEIf we must hark to him, and heed his maxims,There's not a thing we do but what's a crime;He censures everything, this zealous carper.

  MADAME PERNELLEAnd all he censures is well censured, too.He wants to guide you on the way to heaven;My son should train you all to love him well.

  DAMISNo, madam, look you, nothing—not my fatherNor anything—can make me tolerate him.I should belie my feelings not to say so.His actions rouse my wrath at every turn;And I foresee that there must come of itAn open rupture with this sneaking scoundrel.

  DORINEBesides, 'tis downright scandalous to seeThis unknown upstart master of the house—This vagabond, who hadn't, when he came,Shoes to his feet, or clothing worth six farthings,And who so far forgets his place, as nowTo censure everything, and rule the roost!

  MADAME PERNELLEEh! Mercy sakes alive! Things would go betterIf all were governed by his pious orders.

  DORINEHe passes for a saint in your opinion.In fact, he's nothing but a hypocrite.

  MADAME PERNELLEJust listen to her tongue!

  DORINEI wouldn't trust him,Nor yet his Lawrence, without bonds and surety.

  MADAME PERNELLEI don't know what the servant's characterMay be; but I can guarantee the masterA holy man. You hate him and reject himBecause he tells home truths to all of you.'Tis sin alone that moves his heart to anger,And heaven's interest is his only motive.

  DORINEOf course. But why, especially of late,Can he let nobody come near the house?Is heaven offended at a civil callThat he should make so great a fuss about it?I'll tell you, if you like, just what I think;(Pointing to Elmire)Upon my word, he's jealous of our mistress.

  MADAME PERNELLEYou hold your tongue, and think what you are saying.He's not alone in censuring these visits;The turmoil that attends your sort of people,Their carriages forever at the door,And all their noisy footmen, flocked together,Annoy the neighbourhood, and raise a scandal.I'd gladly think there's nothing really wrong;But it makes talk; and that's not as it should be.

  CLEANTEEh! madam, can you hope to keep folk's tonguesFrom wagging? It would be a grievous thingIf, for the fear of idle talk about us,We had to sacrifice our friends. No, no;Even if we could bring ourselves to do it,Think you that everyone would then be silenced?Against backbiting there is no defenceSo let us try to live in innocence,To silly tattle pay no heed at all,And leave the gossips free to vent their gall.

  DORINEOur neighbour Daphne, and her little husband,Must be the ones who slander us, I'm thinking.Those whose own conduct's most ridiculous,Are always quickest to speak ill of others;They never fail to seize at once uponThe slightest hint of any love affair,And spread the news of it with glee, and give itThe character they'd have the world believe in.By others' actions, painted in their colours,They hope to justify their own; they think,In the false hope of some resemblance, eitherTo make their own intrigues seem innocent,Or else to make their neighbours share the blameWhich they are loaded with by everybody.

  MADAME PERNELLEThese arguments are nothing to the purpose.Orante, we all know, lives a perfect life;Her thoughts are all of heaven; and I have heardThat she condemns the company you keep.

  DORINEO admirable pattern! Virtuous dame!She lives the model of austerity;But age has brought this piety upon her,And she's a prude, now she can't help herself.As long as she could capture men's attentionsShe made the most of her advantages;But, now she sees her beauty vanishing,She wants to leave the world, that's leaving her,And in the specious veil of haughty virtueShe'd hide the weakness of her worn-out charms.That is the way with all your old coquettes;They find it hard to see their lovers leave 'em;And thus abandoned, their forlorn estateCan find no occupation but a prude's.These pious dames, in their austerity,Must carp at everything, and pardon nothing.They loudly blame their neighbours' way of living,Not for religion's sake, but out of envy,Because they can't endure to see anotherEnjoy the pleasures age has weaned them from.

  MADAME PERNELLE (to Elmire)There! That's the kind of rigmarole to please you,Daughter-in-law. One never has a chanceTo get a word in edgewise, at your house,Because this lady holds the floor all day;But none the less, I mean to have my say, too.I tell you that my son did nothing wiserIn all his life, than take this godly manInto his household; heaven sent him here,In your great need, to make you all repent;For your salvation, you must hearken to him;He censures nothing but deserves his censure.These visits, these assemblies, and these balls,Are all inventions of the evil spirit.You never hear a word of godlinessAt them—but idle cackle, nonsense, flimflam.Our neighbour often comes in for a share,The talk flies fast, and scandal fills the air;It makes a sober person's head go round,At these assemblies, just to hear the soundOf so much gab, with not a word to say;And as a learned man remarked one dayMost aptly, 'tis the Tower of Babylon,Where all, beyond all limit, babble on.And just to tell you how this point came in …

  (To Cleante)So! Now the gentlemen must snicker, must he?Go find fools like yourself to make you laughAnd don't …

  (To Elmire)Daughter, good-bye; not one word more.As for this house, I leave the half unsaid;But I shan't soon set foot in it again,

  (Cuffing Flipotte)Come, you! What makes you dream and stand agape,Hussy! I'll warm your ears in proper shape!March, trollop, march!



  CLEANTEI won't escort her down,For fear she might fall foul of me again;The good old lady …

  DORINEBless us! What a pityShe shouldn't hear the way you speak of her!She'd surely tell you you're too "good" by half,And that she's not so "old" as all that, neither!

  CLEANTEHow she got angry with us all for nothing!And how she seems possessed with her Tartuffe!

  DORINEHer case is nothing, though, beside her son's!To see him, you would say he's ten times worse!His conduct in our late unpleasantness [1]Had won him much esteem, and proved his courageIn service of his king; but now he's likeA man besotted, since he's been so takenWith this Tartuffe. He calls him brother, loves himA hundred times as much as mother, son,Daughter, and wife. He tells him all his secretsAnd lets him guide his acts, and rule his conscience.He fondles and embraces him; a sweetheartCould not, I think, be loved more tenderly;At table he must have the seat of honour,While with delight our master sees him eatAs much as six men could; we must give upThe choicest tidbits to him; if he belches,('tis a servant speaking) [2]Master exclaims: "God bless you!"—Oh, he dotesUpon him! he's his universe, his hero;He's lost in constant admiration, quotes himOn all occasions, takes his trifling actsFor wonders, and his words for oracles.The fellow knows his dupe, and makes the most on't,He fools him with a hundred masks of virtue,Gets money from him all the time by canting,And takes upon himself to carp at us.Even his silly coxcomb of a lackeyMakes it his business to instruct us too;He comes with rolling eyes to preach at us,And throws away our ribbons, rouge, and patches.The wretch, the other day, tore up a kerchiefThat he had found, pressed in the Golden Legend,Calling it a horrid crime for us to mingleThe devil's finery with holy things.

  [Footnote 1: Referring to the rebellion called La Fronde, during theminority of Louis XIV.]

[Footnote 2: Moliere's note, inserted in the text of all the old editions. It is a curious illustration of the desire for uniformity and dignity of style in dramatic verse of the seventeenth century, that Moliere feels called on to apologize for a touch of realism like this. Indeed, these lines were even omitted when the play was given.]



  ELMIRE (to Cleante)You're very lucky to have missed the speechShe gave us at the door. I see my husbandIs home again. He hasn't seen me yet,So I'll go up and wait till he comes in.

  CLEANTEAnd I, to save time, will await him here;I'll merely say good-morning, and be gone.



  DAMISI wish you'd say a word to him aboutMy sister's marriage; I suspect TartuffeOpposes it, and puts my father upTo all these wretched shifts. You know, besides,How nearly I'm concerned in it myself;If love unites my sister and Valere,I love his sister too; and if this marriageWere to …

  DORINEHe's coming.



  ORGONAh! Good morning, brother.

  CLEANTEI was just going, but am glad to greet you.Things are not far advanced yet, in the country?

  ORGONDorine …

  (To Cleante)Just wait a bit, please, brother-in-law.Let me allay my first anxietyBy asking news about the family.

  (To Dorine)Has everything gone well these last two days?What's happening? And how is everybody?

  DORINEMadam had fever, and a splitting headacheDay before yesterday, all day and evening.

  ORGONAnd how about Tartuffe?

  DORINETartuffe? He's well;He's mighty well; stout, fat, fair, rosy-lipped.

  ORGONPoor man!

  DORINEAt evening she had nauseaAnd couldn't touch a single thing for supper,Her headache still was so severe.

  ORGONAnd howAbout Tartuffe?

  DORINEHe supped alone, before her,And unctuously ate up two partridges,As well as half a leg o' mutton, deviled.

  ORGONPoor man!

  DORINEAll night she couldn't get a winkOf sleep, the fever racked her so; and weHad to sit up with her till daylight.

  ORGONHowAbout Tartuffe?

  DORINEGently inclined to slumber,He left the table, went into his room,Got himself straight into a good warm bed,And slept quite undisturbed until next morning.

  ORGONPoor man!

  DORINEAt last she let us all persuade her,And got up courage to be bled; and thenShe was relieved at once.

  ORGONAnd how aboutTartuffe?

  DORINEHe plucked up courage properly,Bravely entrenched his soul against all evils,And to replace the blood that she had lost,He drank at breakfast four huge draughts of wine.

  ORGONPoor man!

  DORINESo now they both are doing well;And I'll go straightway and inform my mistressHow pleased you are at her recovery.



  CLEANTEBrother, she ridicules you to your face;And I, though I don't want to make you angry,Must tell you candidly that she's quite right.Was such infatuation ever heard of?And can a man to-day have charms to make youForget all else, relieve his poverty,Give him a home, and then … ?

  ORGONStop there, good brother,You do not know the man you're speaking of.

  CLEANTESince you will have it so, I do not know him;But after all, to tell what sort of manHe is …

  ORGONDear brother, you'd be charmed to know him;Your raptures over him would have no end.He is a man … who … ah! … in fact …a manWhoever does his will, knows perfect peace,And counts the whole world else, as so much dung.His converse has transformed me quite; he weansMy heart from every friendship, teaches meTo have no love for anything on earth;And I could see my brother, children, mother,And wife, all die, and never care—a snap.

  CLEANTEYour feelings are humane, I must say, brother!

  ORGONAh! If you'd seen him, as I saw him first,You would have loved him just as much as I.He came to church each day, with contrite mien,Kneeled, on both knees, right opposite my place,And drew the eyes of all the congregation,To watch the fervour of his prayers to heaven;With deep-drawn sighs and great ejaculations,He humbly kissed the earth at every moment;And when I left the church, he ran before meTo give me holy water at the door.I learned his poverty, and who he was,By questioning his servant, who is like him,And gave him gifts; but in his modestyHe always wanted to return a part."It is too much," he'd say, "too much by half;I am not worthy of your pity." Then,When I refused to take it back, he'd go,Before my eyes, and give it to the poor.At length heaven bade me take him to my home,And since that day, all seems to prosper here.He censures everything, and for my sakeHe even takes great interest in my wife;He lets me know who ogles her, and seemsSix times as jealous as I am myself.You'd not believe how far his zeal can go:He calls himself a sinner just for trifles;The merest nothing is enough to shock him;So much so, that the other day I heard himAccuse himself for having, while at prayer,In too much anger caught and killed a flea.

  CLEANTEZounds, brother, you are mad, I think! Or elseYou're making sport of me, with such a speech.What are you driving at with all this nonsense … ?

  ORGONBrother, your language smacks of atheism;And I suspect your soul's a little taintedTherewith. I've preached to you a score of timesThat you'll draw down some judgment on your head.

  CLEANTEThat is the usual strain of all your kind;They must have every one as blind as they.They call you atheist if you have good eyes;And if you don't adore their vain grimaces,You've neither faith nor care for sacred things.No, no; such talk can't frighten me; I knowWhat I am saying; heaven sees my heart.We're not the dupes of all your canting mummers;There are false heroes—and false devotees;And as true heroes never are the onesWho make much noise about their deeds of honour,Just so true devotees, whom we should follow,Are not the ones who make so much vain show.What! Will you find no difference betweenHypocrisy and genuine devoutness?And will you treat them both alike, and payThe self-same honour both to masks and facesSet artifice beside sincerity,Confuse the semblance with reality,Esteem a phantom like a living person,And counterfeit as good as honest coin?Men, for the most part, are strange creatures, truly!You never find them keep the golden mean;The limits of good sense, too narrow for them,Must always be passed by, in each direction;They often spoil the noblest things, becauseThey go too far, and push them to extremes.I merely say this by the way, good brother.

  ORGONYou are the sole expounder of the doctrine;Wisdom shall die with you, no doubt, good brother,You are the only wise, the sole enlightened,The oracle, the Cato, of our age.All men, compared to you, are downright fools.

  CLEANTEI'm not the sole expounder of the doctrine,And wisdom shall not die with me, good brother.But this I know, though it be all my knowledge,That there's a difference 'twixt false and true.And as I find no kind of hero moreTo be admired than men of true religion,Nothing more noble or more beautifulThan is the holy zeal of true devoutness;Just so I think there's naught more odiousThan whited sepulchres of outward unction,Those barefaced charlatans, those hireling zealots,Whose sacrilegious, treacherous pretenceDeceives at will, and with impunityMakes mockery of all that men hold sacred;Men who, enslaved to selfish interests,Make trade and merchandise of godliness,And try to purchase influence and officeWith false eye-rollings and affected raptures;Those men, I say, who with uncommon zealSeek their own fortunes on the road to heaven;Who, skilled in prayer, have always much to ask,And live at court to preach retirement;Who reconcile religion with their vices,Are quick to anger, vengeful, faithless, tricky,And, to destroy a man, will have the boldnessTo call their private grudge the cause of heaven;All the more dangerous, since in their angerThey use against us weapons men revere,And since they make the world applaud their passion,And seek to stab us with a sacred sword.There are too many of this canting kind.Still, the sincere are easy to distinguish;And many splendid patterns may be found,In our own time, before our very eyesLook at Ariston, Periandre, Oronte,Alcidamas, Clitandre, and Polydore;No one denies their claim to true religion;Yet they're no braggadocios of virtue,They do not make insufferable display,And their religion's human, tractable;They are not always judging all our actions,They'd think such judgment savoured of presumption;And, leaving pride of words to other men,'Tis by their deeds alone they censure ours.Evil appearances find little creditWith them; they even incline to think the bestOf others. No caballers, no intriguers,They mind the business of their own right living.They don't attack a sinner tooth and nail,For sin's the only object of their hatred;Nor are they over-zealous to attemptFar more in heaven's behalf than heaven would have 'em.That is my kind of man, that is true living,That is the pattern we should set ourselves.Your fellow was not fashioned on this model;You're quite sincere in boasting of his zeal;But you're deceived, I think, by false pretences.

  ORGONMy dear good brother-in-law, have you quite done?


  ORGONI'm your humble servant.

(Starts to go.)

  CLEANTEJust a word.We'll drop that other subject. But you knowValere has had the promise of your daughter.


  CLEANTEYou had named the happy day.

  ORGON'Tis true.

  CLEANTEThen why put off the celebration of it?

  ORGONI can't say.

  CLEANTECan you have some other planIn mind?


  CLEANTEYou mean to break your word?

  ORGONI don't say that.

  CLEANTEI hope no obstacleCan keep you from performing what you've promised.

  ORGONWell, that depends.

  CLEANTEWhy must you beat about?Valere has sent me here to settle matters.

  ORGONHeaven be praised!

  CLEANTEWhat answer shall I take him?

  ORGONWhy, anything you please.

  CLEANTEBut we must knowYour plans. What are they?

  ORGONI shall do the willOf Heaven.

  CLEANTECome, be serious. You've givenYour promise to Valere. Now will you keep it?


  CLEANTE (alone)His love, methinks, has much to fear;I must go let him know what's happening here.




  ORGONNow, Mariane.

  MARIANEYes, father?

  ORGONCome; I'll tell youA secret.

  MARIANEYes … What are you looking for?

  ORGON (looking into a small closet-room)To see there's no one there to spy upon us;That little closet's mighty fit to hide in.There! We're all right now. Mariane, in youI've always found a daughter dutifulAnd gentle. So I've always love you dearly.

  MARIANEI'm grateful for your fatherly affection.

  ORGONWell spoken, daughter. Now, prove you deserve itBy doing as I wish in all respects.

  MARIANETo do so is the height of my ambition.

  ORGONExcellent well. What say you of—Tartuffe?


  ORGONYes, you. Look to it how you answer.

  MARIANEWhy! I'll say of him—anything you please.


  ORGON, MARIANE, DORINE (coming in quietly and standing behindOrgon, so that he does not see her)

  ORGONWell spoken. A good girl. Say then, my daughter,That all his person shines with noble merit,That he has won your heart, and you would likeTo have him, by my choice, become your husband.Eh?


  ORGONWhat say you?

  MARIANEPlease, what did you say?


  MARIANESurely I mistook you, sir?

  ORGONHow now?

  MARIANEWho is it, father, you would have me sayHas won my heart, and I would like to haveBecome my husband, by your choice?


  MARIANEBut, father, I protest it isn't true!Why should you make me tell this dreadful lie?

  ORGONBecause I mean to have it be the truth.Let this suffice for you: I've settled it.

  MARIANEWhat, father, you would … ?

  ORGONYes, child, I'm resolvedTo graft Tartuffe into my family.So he must be your husband. That I've settled.And since your duty ..

  (Seeing Dorine)What are you doing there?Your curiosity is keen, my girl,To make you come eavesdropping on us so.

  DORINEUpon my word, I don't know how the rumourGot started—if 'twas guess-work or mere chanceBut I had heard already of this match,And treated it as utter stuff and nonsense.

  ORGONWhat! Is the thing incredible?

  DORINESo much soI don't believe it even from yourself, sir.

  ORGONI know a way to make you credit it.

  DORINENo, no, you're telling us a fairly tale!

  ORGONI'm telling you just what will happen shortly.


  ORGONDaughter, what I say is in good earnest.

  DORINEThere, there, don't take your father seriously;He's fooling.

  ORGONBut I tell you …

  DORINENo. No use.They won't believe you.

  ORGONIf I let my anger …

  DORINEWell, then, we do believe you; and the worseFor you it is. What! Can a grown-up manWith that expanse of beard across his faceBe mad enough to want …?

  ORGONYou hark me:You've taken on yourself here in this houseA sort of free familiarityThat I don't like, I tell you frankly, girl.

  DORINEThere, there, let's not get angry, sir, I beg you.But are you making game of everybody?Your daughter's not cut out for bigot's meat;And he has more important things to think of.Besides, what can you gain by such a match?How can a man of wealth, like you, go chooseA wretched vagabond for son-in-law?

  ORGONYou hold your tongue. And know, the less he has,The better cause have we to honour him.His poverty is honest poverty;It should exalt him more than worldly grandeur,For he has let himself be robbed of all,Through careless disregard of temporal thingsAnd fixed attachment to the things eternal.My help may set him on his feet again,Win back his property—a fair estateHe has at home, so I'm informed—and prove himFor what he is, a true-born gentleman.

  DORINEYes, so he says himself. Such vanityBut ill accords with pious living, sir.The man who cares for holiness aloneShould not so loudly boast his name and birth;The humble ways of genuine devoutnessBrook not so much display of earthly pride.Why should he be so vain? … But I offend you:Let's leave his rank, then,—take the man himself:Can you without compunction give a manLike him possession of a girl like her?Think what a scandal's sure to come of it!Virtue is at the mercy of the fates,When a girl's married to a man she hates;The best intent to live an honest womanDepends upon the husband's being human,And men whose brows are pointed at afarMay thank themselves their wives are what they are.For to be true is more than woman can,With husbands built upon a certain plan;And he who weds his child against her willOwes heaven account for it, if she do ill.Think then what perils wait on your design.

  ORGON (to Mariane)So! I must learn what's what from her, you see!

  DORINEYou might do worse than follow my advice.

  ORGONDaughter, we can't waste time upon this nonsense;I know what's good for you, and I'm your father.True, I had promised you to young Valere;But, first, they tell me he's inclined to gamble,And then, I fear his faith is not quite sound.I haven't noticed that he's regularAt church.

  DORINEYou'd have him run there just when you do.Like those who go on purpose to be seen?

  ORGONI don't ask your opinion on the matter.In short, the other is in Heaven's best graces,And that is riches quite beyond compare.This match will bring you every joy you long for;'Twill be all steeped in sweetness and delight.You'll live together, in your faithful loves,Like two sweet children, like two turtle-doves;You'll never fail to quarrel, scold, or tease,And you may do with him whate'er you please.

  DORINEWith him? Do naught but give him horns, I'll warrant.

  ORGONOut on thee, wench!

  DORINEI tell you he's cut out for't;However great your daughter's virtue, sir,His destiny is sure to prove the stronger.

  ORGONHave done with interrupting. Hold your tongue.Don't poke your nose in other people's business.

  DORINE (She keeps interrupting him, just as he turns and startsto speak to his daughter).If I make bold, sir, 'tis for your own good.

  ORGONYou're too officious; pray you, hold your tongue.

  DORINE'Tis love of you …

  ORGONI want none of your love.

  DORINEThen I will love you in your own despite.

  ORGONYou will, eh?

  DORINEYes, your honour's dear to me;I can't endure to see you made the buttOf all men's ridicule.

  ORGONWon't you be still?

  DORINE'Twould be a sin to let you make this match.

  ORGONWon't you be still, I say, you impudent viper!

  DORINEWhat! you are pious, and you lose your temper?

  ORGONI'm all wrought up, with your confounded nonsense;Now, once for all, I tell you hold your tongue.

  DORINEThen mum's the word; I'll take it out in thinking.

  ORGONThink all you please; but not a syllableTo me about it, or … you understand!

  (Turning to his daughter.)As a wise father, I've considered allWith due deliberation.

  DORINEI'll go madIf I can't speak.(She stops the instant he turns his head.)

  ORGONThough he's no lady's man,Tartuffe is well enough …

  DORINEA pretty phiz!

  ORGONSo that, although you may not care at allFor his best qualities …

  DORINEA handsome dowry!

  (Orgon turns and stands in front of her, with arms folded, eyeingher.)Were I in her place, any man should rue itWho married me by force, that's mighty certain;I'd let him know, and that within a week,A woman's vengeance isn't far to seek.

  ORGON (to Dorine)So—nothing that I say has any weight?

  DORINEEh? What's wrong now? I didn't speak to you.

  ORGONWhat were you doing?

  DORINETalking to myself.

  ORGONOh! Very well. (Aside.) Her monstrous impudenceMust be chastised with one good slap in the face.

  (He stands ready to strike her, and, each time he speaks to hisdaughter, he glances toward her; but she stands still and says not aword.) [3]

[Footnote 3: As given at the Comedie francaise, the action is as follows: While Orgon says, "You must approve of my design," Dorine is making signs to Mariane to resist his orders; Orgon turns around suddenly; but Dorine quickly changes her gesture and with the hand which she had lifted calmly arranges her hair and her cap. Orgon goes on, "Think of the husband …" and stops before the middle of his sentence to turn and catch the beginning of Dorine's gesture; but he is too quick this time, and Dorine stands looking at his furious countenance with a sweet and gentle expression. He turns and goes on, and the obstinate Dorine again lifts her hand behind his shoulder to urge Mariane to resistance: this time he catches her; but just as he swings his shoulder to give her the promised blow, she stops him by changing the intent of her gesture, and carefully picking from the top of his sleeve a bit of fluff which she holds carefully between her fingers, then blows into the air, and watches intently as it floats away. Orgon is paralysed by her innocence of expression, and compelled to hide his rage.—Regnier, Le Tartuffe des Comediens.]

  ORGONDaughter, you must approve of my design….Think of this husband … I have chosen for you…

  (To Dorine)Why don't you talk to yourself?

  DORINENothing to say.

  ORGONOne little word more.

  DORINEOh, no, thanks. Not now.

  ORGONSure, I'd have caught you.

  DORINEFaith, I'm no such fool.

  ORGONSo, daughter, now obedience is the word;You must accept my choice with reverence.

  DORINE (running away)You'd never catch me marrying such a creature.

  ORGON (swinging his hand at her and missing her)Daughter, you've such a pestilent hussy thereI can't live with her longer, without sin.I can't discuss things in the state I'm in.My mind's so flustered by her insolent talk,To calm myself, I must go take a walk.



  DORINESay, have you lost the tongue from out your head?And must I speak your role from A to Zed?You let them broach a project that's absurd,And don't oppose it with a single word!

  MARIANEWhat can I do? My father is the master.

  DORINEDo? Everything, to ward off such disaster.

  MARIANEBut what?

  DORINETell him one doesn't love by proxy;Tell him you'll marry for yourself, not him;Since you're the one for whom the thing is done,You are the one, not he, the man must please;If his Tartuffe has charmed him so, why let himJust marry him himself—no one will hinder.

  MARIANEA father's rights are such, it seems to me,That I could never dare to say a word.

  DORINECame, talk it out. Valere has asked your hand:Now do you love him, pray, or do you not?

  MARIANEDorine! How can you wrong my love so much,And ask me such a question? Have I notA hundred times laid bare my heart to you?Do you know how ardently I love him?

  DORINEHow do I know if heart and words agree,And if in honest truth you really love him?

  MARIANEDorine, you wrong me greatly if you doubt it;I've shown my inmost feelings, all too plainly.

  DORINESo then, you love him?

  MARIANEYes, devotedly.

  DORINEAnd he returns your love, apparently?

  MARIANEI think so.

  DORINEAnd you both alike are eagerTo be well married to each other?


  DORINEThen what's your plan about this other match?

  MARIANETo kill myself, if it is forced upon me.

  DORINEGood! That's a remedy I hadn't thought of.Just die, and everything will be all right.This medicine is marvellous, indeed!It drives me mad to hear folk talk such nonsense.

  MARIANEOh dear, Dorine you get in such a temper!You have no sympathy for people's troubles.

  DORINEI have no sympathy when folk talk nonsense,And flatten out as you do, at a pinch.

  MARIANEBut what can you expect?—if one is timid?—

  DORINEBut what is love worth, if it has no courage?

  MARIANEAm I not constant in my love for him?Is't not his place to win me from my father?

  DORINEBut if your father is a crazy fool,And quite bewitched with his Tartuffe? And breaksHis bounden word? Is that your lover's fault?

  MARIANEBut shall I publicly refuse and scornThis match, and make it plain that I'm in love?Shall I cast off for him, whate'er he be,Womanly modesty and filial duty?You ask me to display my love in public … ?

  DORINENo, no, I ask you nothing. You shall beMister Tartuffe's; why, now I think of it,I should be wrong to turn you from this marriage.What cause can I have to oppose your wishes?So fine a match! An excellent good match!Mister Tartuffe! Oh ho! No mean proposal!Mister Tartuffe, sure, take it all in all,Is not a man to sneeze at—oh, by no means!'Tis no small luck to be his happy spouse.The whole world joins to sing his praise already;He's noble—in his parish; handsome too;Red ears and high complexion—oh, my lud!You'll be too happy, sure, with him for husband.

  MARIANEOh dear! …

  DORINEWhat joy and pride will fill your heartTo be the bride of such a handsome fellow!

  MARIANEOh, stop, I beg you; try to find some wayTo help break off the match. I quite give in,I'm ready to do anything you say.

  DORINENo, no, a daughter must obey her father,Though he should want to make her wed a monkey.Besides, your fate is fine. What could be better!You'll take the stage-coach to his little village,And find it full of uncles and of cousins,Whose conversation will delight you. ThenYou'll be presented in their best society.You'll even go to call, by way of welcome,On Mrs. Bailiff, Mrs. Tax-Collector,Who'll patronise you with a folding-stool.There, once a year, at carnival, you'll havePerhaps—a ball; with orchestra—two bag-pipes;And sometimes a trained ape, and Punch and Judy;Though if your husband …

  MARIANEOh, you'll kill me. PleaseContrive to help me out with your advice.

  DORINEI thank you kindly.

  MARIANEOh! Dorine, I beg you …

  DORINETo serve you right, this marriage must go through.

  MARIANEDear girl!


  MARIANEIf I say I love Valere …

  DORINENo, no. Tartuffe's your man, and you shall taste him.

  MARIANEYou know I've always trusted you; now help me …

  DORINENo, you shall be, my faith! Tartuffified.

  MARIANEWell, then, since you've no pity for my fateLet me take counsel only of despair;It will advise and help and give me courage;There's one sure cure, I know, for all my troubles.

(She starts to go.)

  DORINEThere, there! Come back. I can't be angry long.I must take pity on you, after all.

  MARIANEOh, don't you see, Dorine, if I must bearThis martyrdom, I certainly shall die.

  DORINENow don't you fret. We'll surely find some way.To hinder this … But here's Valere, your lover.



  VALEREMadam, a piece of news—quite new to me—Has just come out, and very fine it is.

  MARIANEWhat piece of news?

  VALEREYour marriage with Tartuffe.

  MARIANE'Tis true my father has this plan in mind.

  VALEREYour father, madam …

  MARIANEYes, he's changed his plans,And did but now propose it to me.


  MARIANEYes, he was serious,And openly insisted on the match.

  VALEREAnd what's your resolution in the matter,Madam?

  MARIANEI don't know.

  VALEREThat's a pretty answer.You don't know?



  MARIANEWhat do you advise?

  VALEREI? My advice is, marry him, by all means.

  MARIANEThat's your advice?


  MARIANEDo you mean it?

  VALERESurely.A splendid choice, and worthy of your acceptance.

  MARIANEOh, very well, sir! I shall take your counsel.

  VALEREYou'll find no trouble taking it, I warrant.

  MARIANENo more than you did giving it, be sure.

  VALEREI gave it, truly, to oblige you, madam.

  MARIANEAnd I shall take it to oblige you, sir.

  Dorine (withdrawing to the back of the stage)Let's see what this affair will come to.

  VALERESo,That is your love? And it was all deceitWhen you …

  MARIANEI beg you, say no more of that.You told me, squarely, sir, I should acceptThe husband that is offered me; and IWill tell you squarely that I mean to do so,Since you have given me this good advice.

  VALEREDon't shield yourself with talk of my advice.You had your mind made up, that's evident;And now you're snatching at a trifling pretextTo justify the breaking of your word.

  MARIANEExactly so.

  VALEREOf course it is; your heartHas never known true love for me.

  MARIANEAlas!You're free to think so, if you please.

  VALEREYes, yes,I'm free to think so; and my outraged loveMay yet forestall you in your perfidy,And offer elsewhere both my heart and hand.

  MARIANENo doubt of it; the love your high desertsMay win …

  VALEREGood Lord, have done with my deserts!I know I have but few, and you have proved it.But I may find more kindness in another;I know of someone, who'll not be ashamedTo take your leavings, and make up my loss.

  MARIANEThe loss is not so great; you'll easilyConsole yourself completely for this change.

  VALEREI'll try my best, that you may well believe.When we're forgotten by a woman's heart,Our pride is challenged; we, too, must forget;Or if we cannot, must at least pretend to.No other way can man such baseness prove,As be a lover scorned, and still in love.

  MARIANEIn faith, a high and noble sentiment.

  VALEREYes; and it's one that all men must approve.What! Would you have me keep my love alive,And see you fly into another's armsBefore my very eyes; and never offerTo someone else the heart that you had scorned?

  MARIANEOh, no, indeed! For my part, I could wishThat it were done already.

  VALEREWhat! You wish it?


  VALEREThis is insult heaped on injury;I'll go at once and do as you desire.

(He takes a step or two as if to go away.)

  MARIANEOh, very well then.

  VALERE (turning back)But remember this.'Twas you that drove me to this desperate pass.

  MARIANEOf course.

  VALERE (turning back again)And in the plan that I have formedI only follow your example.


  VALERE (at the door)Enough; you shall be punctually obeyed.

  MARIANESo much the better.

  VALERE (coming back again)This is once for all.

  MARIANESo be it, then.

  VALERE (He goes toward the door, but just as he reaches it, turnsaround)Eh?


  VALEREYou didn't call me?

  MARIANEI? You are dreaming.

  VALEREVery well, I'm gone. Madam, farewell.

(He walks slowly away.)

  MARIANEFarewell, sir.

  DORINEI must sayYou've lost your senses and both gone clean daft!I've let you fight it out to the end o' the chapterTo see how far the thing could go. Oho, there,Mister Valere!

  (She goes and seizes him by the arm, to stop him. He makes a greatshow of resistance.)

  VALEREWhat do you want, Dorine?

  DORINECome here.

  VALERENo, no, I'm quite beside myself.Don't hinder me from doing as she wishes.


  VALERENo. You see, I'm fixed, resolved, determined.


  MARIANE (aside)Since my presence pains him, makes him go,I'd better go myself, and leave him free.

  DORINE (leaving Valere, and running after Mariane)Now t'other! Where are you going?

  MARIANELet me be.

  DORINE.Come back.

  MARIANENo, no, it isn't any use.

  VALERE (aside)'Tis clear the sight of me is torture to her;No doubt, t'were better I should free her from it.

  DORINE (leaving Mariane and running after Valere)Same thing again! Deuce take you both, I say.Now stop your fooling; come here, you; and you.

(She pulls first one, then the other, toward the middle of the stage.)

  VALERE (to Dorine)What's your idea?

  MARIANE (to Dorine)What can you mean to do?

  DORINESet you to rights, and pull you out o' the scrape.

  (To Valere)Are you quite mad, to quarrel with her now?

  VALEREDidn't you hear the things she said to me?

  DORINE (to Mariane)Are you quite mad, to get in such a passion?

  MARIANEDidn't you see the way he treated me?

  DORINEFools, both of you.

  (To Valere)She thinks of nothing elseBut to keep faith with you, I vouch for it.

  (To Mariane)And he loves none but you, and longs for nothingBut just to marry you, I stake my life on't.

  MARIANE (to Valere)Why did you give me such advice then, pray?

  VALERE (to Mariane)Why ask for my advice on such a matter?

  DORINEYou both are daft, I tell you. Here, your hands.

  (To Valere)Come, yours.

  VALERE (giving Dorine his hand)What for?

  DORINE (to Mariane)Now, yours.

  MARIANE (giving Dorine her hand)But what's the use?

  DORINEOh, quick now, come along. There, both of you—You love each other better than you think.

  (Valere and Mariane hold each other's hands some time without lookingat each other.)

  VALERE (at last turning toward Mariane)Come, don't be so ungracious now about it;Look at a man as if you didn't hate him.

(Mariane looks sideways toward Valere, with just a bit of a smile.)

  DORINEMy faith and troth, what fools these lovers be!

  VALERE (to Mariane)But come now, have I not a just complaint?And truly, are you not a wicked creatureTo take delight in saying what would pain me?

  MARIANEAnd are you not yourself the most ungrateful … ?

  DORINELeave this discussion till another time;Now, think how you'll stave off this plaguy marriage.

  MARIANEThen tell us how to go about it.

  DORINEWell,We'll try all sorts of ways.

  (To Mariane)Your father's daft;

  (To Valere)This plan is nonsense.

  (To Mariane)You had better humourHis notions by a semblance of consent,So that in case of danger, you can stillFind means to block the marriage by delay.If you gain time, the rest is easy, trust me.One day you'll fool them with a sudden illness,Causing delay; another day, ill omens:You've met a funeral, or broke a mirror,Or dreamed of muddy water. Best of all,They cannot marry you to anyoneWithout your saying yes. But now, methinks,They mustn't find you chattering together.