World Lit Rough Draft

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Nikolas Bernadel Mrs. Sutterfield IB English III 14 February 2012 Tartuffe: World Lit. Rough Draft In many plays, the concept of rationality provides a basis for which characters undergo a fundamental change in their character. In Molière’s Tartuffe, this basis is provided by Cleante – a man of self-embodied wisdom and purveyor of wishful thinking, whose logic counterbalances the irrational thinking that plagues on Orgon’s household. Cleante’s stand against irrational motives allows him to prevent violence from erupting within the household ranks, and ultimately succeeds in aiding in the capture of Tartuffe by placing Orgon’s family in a positive view rather than a negative one. Cleante’s ideological views, while enlightening, are often ignored by those who are directly in conflict with Tartuffe’s character, thus Cleante must exercise rationality at every chance he gets. Molière’s inclusion of Cleante, along with Dorine, eventually creates a foundation upon which Orgon’s family, as a whole, views Tartuffe as a hypocrite. This foundation is critical to the exposure to Tartuffe’s true nature. Cleante’s firm stance on reason can be attributed to his desire to avoid violence at all costs. Not only does Cleante assume it his duty to avoid conflict, he also attempts to persuade the other characters to view the situation from his neutral standpoint – one of which allows him to judge without bias. Cleante’s principal of reason aims to avoid opposition that is neither false nor counterproductive, and instead uses his intuition to expose Tartuffe’s piousness. This intuition leads Cleante to put Orgon’s family into his favor without further intensifying the tension between their unwanted guest and themselves. Cleante’s nature undoubtedly allows one to assume his character as that of a sage, though Cleante himself denies this depiction: “No brother, I am none of your
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