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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Tartuffe \Tar*tuffe"\, Tartufe \Tar*tufe"\, n. [F. tartufe.] A hypocritical devotee. See the Dictionary of Noted Names in Fiction.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"pretender to piety," 1670s, from name of the principal character in the comedy by Molière (1664), apparently from Old French tartuffe "truffle" (see truffle), perhaps chosen for suggestion of concealment (Tartuffe is a religious hypocrite), or "in allusion to the fancy that truffles were a diseased product of the earth." Italian Tartufo is said to have been the name of a hypocritical character in Italian comedy.


n. A religious hypocrite


Tartuffe, or The Impostor, or The Hypocrite (; , ), first performed in 1664, is one of the most famous theatrical comedies by Molière. The characters of Tartuffe, Elmire, and Orgon are considered among the greatest classical theatre roles.

Tartuffe (Mechem)

Tartuffe is an opera in three acts by Kirke Mechem. Mechem also wrote the English libretto. Based on the Molière's play Tartuffe, or the Impostor, it is a modern opera buffa set in Paris in the 17th century. Tartuffe premiered on May 27, 1980, at the San Francisco Opera It has since seen over 400 performances in six countries and been translated into German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Czech. A " number opera" with arias, duets, trios and ensembles, Tartuffe is one of the most performed operas by an American composer. Also often sung is Mechem's choral arrangement of the song "The Lighthearted Lovers," excerpted from Dorine's aria, "Fair Robin I Love."

Tartuffe (film)

Tartuffe (Herr Tartüff) is a German silent film produced by Erich Pommer for UFA and released in 1926. It was directed by F. W. Murnau, photographed by Karl Freund and written by Carl Mayer from Molière's original play. Set design and costumes were by Robert Herlth and Walter Röhrig.

The film starred Emil Jannings as Tartuffe, Lil Dagover as Elmire and Werner Krauss as Orgon.

Based on the play Tartuffe, the film retains the basic plot, but Murnau and Mayer pared down Molière's play, eliminating most of the secondary characters and concentrating on the triangle of Orgon, Elmire and Tartuffe. They also introduced a framing device, whereby the story of Tartuffe becomes a film-within-a-film, shown by a young actor as a device to warn his grandfather about his unctuous but evil housekeeper.

Tartuffe (TV movie)

Tartuffe is a 1965 Australian TV movie.

The Canberra Times acclaimed it as one of the best productions of the year.

Usage examples of "tartuffe".

Her pretense of love to Tartuffe is a performance for Orgon, whom she wishes to restore to his proper role as husband and head of the family by leaving to him the decision to save her.

I suspect Tartuffe Opposes it, and puts my father up To all these wretched shifts.

If his Tartuffe has charmed him so, why let him Just marry him himself--no one will hinder.

Mister Tartuffe, sure, take it all in all, Is not a man to sneeze at--oh, by no means!

She has some influence with this Tartuffe, He makes a point of heeding all she says, And I suspect that he is fond of her.

Further audiences are implied by the play, including people outside the family unit who, we are aware, may hold Tartuffe in esteem, religious people who practice their faith more sincerely than he, and, ultimately, authorities who perceive him as a criminal.

Lionel Gossman argues that Orgon uses Tartuffe in order to solidify and extend his own power over his family, and he traces the political implications of that possibility.

Rather than seeking to gain power through Tartuffe, Orgon may seek to relinquish responsibility.

He is willing to hand Tartuffe his daughter, his secrets, his property, and almost his wife.

If Tartuffe can be seen as an embodiment of religion, or of a certain kind of religion, the significance of his appeal to Orgon becomes apparent.

The complete faith Orgon reposes in Tartuffe requires a certainty that cannot be found in human affairs.

Elmire has, according to Dorine, sent for Tartuffe to explore his attitude towards his projected marriage with Mariane.

He has sacrificed his son to Tartuffe and plans to sacrifice his daughter, raising the question whether he will sacrifice his wife, a question that becomes more pressing as he continues not to appear.

There is an earlier fear that Tartuffe himself may detect her, for he seems initially suspicious.

Orgon has erred in his excessive trust of Tartuffe, Tartuffe has been excessive in his trust of Elmire.