Molière’s Tartuffe: The Force of Comedy


I.                    What is Comedy?

A.     Theories of Comedy

B.     Comic Principles

C.     Comic Traditions

D.     The Function of Comedy

E.      What’s so funny?

II.                 The Court and the Theatre in the Age of Louis XIV (1638-1715)

A.     The Sun King Comes of Age: 1661

B.     Court Intrigues

C.     The King’s Favor: The Duc de Saint-Simon’s Perspective

D.     Ceremony and Theatre

III.               Molière (Jean Baptiste Poquelin), 1622-1673

A.     Background and Early Career: Furnishings by Royal Appointment

B.     Law and Acting: 1642

C.     The Illustre Théâtre and the Béjart Family

D.     Travels in Languedoc: 1645-1658

E.      The Return to Paris and the Théâtre Italien: 1658

IV.              A Public Scandal: Tartuffe (1664)

A.     Marriage in the Theater

B.     The Forces of Hypocrisy

C.     The Meaning of Cant

D.     Hypocrisy, Enthusiasm, and Free-thinking

V.                 The Play

A.     Act I: Trouble Arrives

B.     Mothers, Daughters, and Maids

C.     The Missing Villain

D.     Act II: Engagements and Warnings

E.      Act III: A Son Disinherited

F.      Act IV: Tartuffe Revealed

G.     Act V: The Sun King Saves the Day: Deus ex Machina