Dorine's Monologues in Moliere's "Tartuffe"

A page from an early edition of "Tartuffe". DEA PICTURE LIBRARY

Tartuffe translates to The Imposter or The Hypocrite. The play was performed for the first time in 1664 and features popular characters like Tartuffe, Elmire, Orgon, and Dorine. Tartuffe is written in twelve-syllable lines called alexandrines. The plot focuses on Orgon's family dealing with the pious fraud Tartuffe as he pretends to talk with religious power, fool the family with random antics, and even seduce women in the household.

The Characters in Tartuffe

While Orgon is the head of the house and husband of Elmire, he is unfortunately blindsided with desire for Tartuffe, who is but a houseguest of Orgon and a hypocritical fraud. Tartuffe meddles with seduction and romantic agendas with members in the home. Orgon's wife, Elmire, is one of Tartuffe’s prospects, and she is also the stepmother to Damis and Mariane. Luckily, Dorine is the family housemaid who tries to get to the bottom of Tartuffe's fake personality to help the other characters.

A Focus on the Housemaid, Dorine

Dorine is the sassy, sensible, witty, and wise servant in the household that is the focus of Moliere’s Tartuffe. Her servant status makes her an inferior, but she courageously expresses her opinions to her superiors, who are actually her intellectual inferiors.

For young females in search of a classical monologue, Tartuffe’s cheeky and clever Dorine has quite a few worth examining.

The beginning and ending lines of eight monologues involving Dorine are listed below, along with a brief explanation of the content of each speech. These monologues come from Moliere’s Tartuffe, translated into English verse by Richard Wilbur, an extraordinarily understandable translation of the French comedy.

Act I, Scene 1: First Monologue

The scene begins with: “If there is talk against us, I know the source / It’s Daphne and her little husband, of course.”

Dorine expresses disdain for how people who behave badly seem to be the first to smear the reputations of others. She speculates that their delight in spreading the word of the transgressions of others springs from their belief that their own guilty deeds are less obvious when those of others are emphasized. The scene has 14 lines.

The scene ends with: “Or that their own black guilt will come to seem / Part of a general shady colour-scheme.

Act I, Scene 1: Second Monologue

The scene begins with: “Oh yes, she’s strict, devout, and has no taint / Of worldliness; in short, she seems a saint.”

Dorine dismisses the criticisms of her lifestyle by a woman who is no longer young and beautiful. She attributes this woman’s prudish perspective to jealousy of looks and actions that she is no longer privy to. The scene has 20 lines.

The scene ends with: “And cannot bear to see another know / That pleasures time has forced them to forgo.”

Act I, Scene 2: First Monologue

The scene begins with: “Yes, but her son is even worse deceived / His folly must be seen to be believed.”

Dorine expounds on ruse after ruse that Tartuffe has used to fool the master of the house Orgon. The scene has 32 lines and ends with: “He said it was a sin to juxtapose / Unholy vanities and holy prose.”

Act II, Scene 2: Second Monologue

The scene begins with: “Yes, so he tells us; and Sir, it seems to me / Such pride goes very ill with piety.”

Dorine tries to convince Orgon that he should not impose marriage to Tartuffe upon his daughter. The scene has 23 lines and ends with: “Think, Sir, before you play so risky a role.”

Act II, Scene 3: First Monologue

The scene begins with: “No, I ask nothing of you. Clearly, you want / To be Madame Tartuffe, and I feel bound / Not to oppose a wish so very sound.”

Dorine sarcastically endorses Tartuffe as a brilliant catch of a bridegroom for Marianne. The scene has 13 lines and ends with: “His ears are red, he has a pink complexion / And all in all, he’ll suit you to perfection.”

Act II, Scene 3: Second Monologue

The scene begins with: “Ah no, a dutiful daughter must obey / Her father, even if he weds her to an ape.”

Dorine tortures Marianne with a predictive description of her life as Tartuffe’s wife. The scene has 13 lines and ends with: “To the drone of bagpipes—two of them, in fact, / And see a puppet show or an animal act.”

Act II, Scene 4

The scene begins with: “We’ll use all manner of means, and all at once. / Your father’s addled; he’s acting like a dunce.”

Dorine explains to Mariane and her betrothed ways to delay and ultimately avoid marriage to Tartuffe. The scene has 20 lines and ends with: “Meanwhile we’ll stir her brother into action / And get Elmire, as well, to join our faction.”

Act III, Scene 1

The scene begins with: “Do calm down and be practical. I had rather / My mistress dealt with him—and with your father.”

Dorine convinces Mariane’s brother Damis to abort his plan for exposing Tartuffe and follow hers. The scene has 14 lines and ends with: “Says that he’s almost finished with his prayers. / Go, now. I’ll catch him when he comes downstairs.”

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Flynn, Rosalind. "Dorine's Monologues in Moliere's "Tartuffe"." ThoughtCo, Oct. 7, 2017, thoughtco.com/dorines-monologues-in-molieres-tartuffe-2713310. Flynn, Rosalind. (2017, October 7). Dorine's Monologues in Moliere's "Tartuffe". Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/dorines-monologues-in-molieres-tartuffe-2713310 Flynn, Rosalind. "Dorine's Monologues in Moliere's "Tartuffe"." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/dorines-monologues-in-molieres-tartuffe-2713310 (accessed January 17, 2018).