Tartuffe or “The Imposter” or “The Hypocrite” by Moliere is a wonderful play about a religious hypocrite. The play was banned in his day for five years accusing it of religious mockery. But it is interesting to note that there is no dialogue or action in the play that justifies the allegation. Moliere has rather severely criticized those who feign piety to disguise their own crimes and sins, but in no way has he been disrespectful of his religion. So, one can see the real reason behind the ban. 🙂
The religious hypocrites have tainted human society from its beginning. It was very much so, in Moliere’s day, and if one looks around, it is very much so, even today. I’ve met quite a number of them, so I can guarantee that they do exist. 🙂 Moliere brings this grave theme hilariously into life. His wit and satire, quite exceptional. The theme is certainly no laughing matter, but by heavens, how I laughed over this play! Moliere’s incredible ability to bring out satire in his plays with clever dialogues and actions is simply amazing.
Moliere is my new discovery this year, and I’m really thankful that I came across him. He is a brilliant playwright and has become a favourite of mine. If you love to read plays of light satire, you should certainly check him out.
One word must be said about this translation done by Richard Wilbur. In my opinion, he captures the true essence of the play quite beautifully. Reading his translation has quite a similar effect to watching them being performed. It is a common belief that a play cannot be enjoyed to its full extent only by reading it, and there are good reasons for it. But Wilbur’s translations of Moliere’s plays have to a greater extent met this difficulty. This particular translation was done in verse which rhymed. I really enjoyed reading it. If you are reading Moliere in English, I highly recommend reading Wilbur’s translations.