Tartuffe (or, The Hypocrite)
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WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
When Molière wrote Tartuffe in 1664, religious parties in France wielded much authority. Yet when King Louis XIV first saw the play, he considered it harmless and witty. The Roman Catholic church saw it differently and pressured the King to suppress it. Indeed, the Company of Holy Sacrament deemed it a "wicked comedy." Molière fought hard for his play that reveals the false hearts of powerful hypocrites and religious fanatics. It wasn't until his third petition, and many rewrites, that the ban on the play was grudgingly lifted. At one point, Molière proclaimed, "I can no longer think of writing comedies if the Tartuffes get the upper hand." In 1667, despite Molière's struggles with church and King, his acting company was named the "King's Troupe." This high honor garnered steady paychecks and a personal guarantee from Louis XIV that Molière could continue to present his wickedly funny play, which, to this day, remains his most popular and most successful.
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