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Tartuffe by Molière

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière, was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Among Molière's best-known works is Tartuffe or The Hypocrite, written in 1664. Though Tartuffe was received well by the public and even by Louis XIV, its popularity was lessened when the Archbishop of Paris issued an edict threatening excommunication for anyone who watched, performed in, or read the play.

Tartuffe, a pious fraud who pretends to speak with divine authority, has insinuated himself into the household of Orgon. When Orgon announces that his daughter Mariane is to marry Tartuffe instead of her fiance Valère, the rest of the family realizes the extent of Tartuffe's influence over Orgon. Tartuffe tries to seduce Orgon's wife Elmire, who traps him into revealing to Orgon his intentions toward her. Orgon throws Tartuffe out of the house, Tartuffe returns with an order of eviction for the family, and at the final moment the tables are turned and the play ends happily.

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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... Continue reading book >>

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