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on 19 May 2010
Moliere is considered one of France's leading playwrights, often compared to Shakespeare. He is famous for his comedy and 'La Tartuffe', or 'The Imposter' is perhaps his best-known play. Therefore I came to this expecting great things, but was utterly underwhelmed by the plotting and characterisation. Even Shakespeare's flimsiest comedies have interesting twists and turns, plenty of muddles and misunderstandings, and some emotional depth to the characters but there was none of that here.

In summary: Orgon, a wealthy man, takes in the hypocrite Tartuffe, thinking he's very holy - all his family see through Tartuffe and try to enlighten Orgon without success - Orgon decides that his daughter will marry Tartuffe, and signs over his property to the hypocrite - he sees Tartuffe attempt to seduce his wife (she has persuaded him to hide under the table to observe) and realises his mistake - is it too late? no! Tartuffe is arrested and all live happily ever after.

I imagine it could be funny in a slapstick way as a live performance, if you like pantomime humour, but plot-wise it was dull, plodding and predictable. As far as I could judge the French text was very elegant and witty, and seemed easier than Shakespearean English. If I were to go back and read it again I'm sure I'd find many more allusions, puns and clever observations that I missed; but I'm not sure I'll bother.

Incidently, this edition had plenty of notes, introductions, character studies etc. as well as pictures of the play being performed - a good edition if you have to study the play.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 3 May 1999
The most amazing thing about this play is the skill of its author. The story is original and interesting. The actual writing is what captivated me. So witty is the dialogue, so humorous it is at times, that I laughed out loud. It is quite amazing that such ancient text sounds like something you would hear on a sitcom. This is not boring or confusing speech, like in Shakespeare; this is very down-to-earth. Aside from the alluring rhyme, Moliere has an incredible ability to take a page-long theme and express it perfectly and succinctly in one sentence, and with poignancy. If I were given the task of writing dialogue about the theme of hypocrisy, I would write page after page of ineffective, watered-down, wordy dialogue that repeatedly misses the mark of expressing the point well. Moliere's lines, however, are so well-crafted that the ideas are ingeniously short and accurate. He fits so many good points into one entertaining, rhythmic, memorable sentence. Tartuffe is my favorite play of all!
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on 13 October 2015
A hilarious romp from the 17th century master of comedy, Jean-Baptiste Molière.
A penetrating exposé of religious hypocrisy which was banned after its first showing, although later revised and shown again, under the protection of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Tartuffe was the original Rasputin - a beggar taken in by a rich man, he posed as a monk while trying to seduce his benefactor's wife and usurp his property.
In French, in alexandrines (rhyming couplets). A masterpiece by France's comic Shakespeare. Easier to read though - if you're a Francophone!
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on 18 December 2013
Well laid out with an introduction and letters from Moliere. Missing one star because it would be good to have the footnotes at the foot of the pages, not the end of the chapters.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 1999
Tartuffe is, without doubt, one of the works responsible for placing Molière alongside to the geniuses of Aeschilus and Shakespeare. Here, the human imposture and hipocrasy is not just seen as a way for corrupting others lives, but of also corrupting the own love for all which really matters in life. Tartuffe surpasses the means of a simple comedy of ways to become itself a drama of human being; every time someone laughs of Tartuffe, he/she must do it recognizing that something has to be changed so that he/she does not become laughable.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 17 December 1998
We studdied this play in english class and it was a high point of the year. Full of humor, satire and sexual inuendos, this was a joy to read.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 1999
A wonderful book, what more can one say about it? The author has translated it into rhyming couplets that are perfect for the type of play/drama it is. This type of book really gives you insight to the way people think and how easily someone can fall into the hands of the wrong people.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2011
Item arrived as described but took a bit longer than expected. The edition was perfect and price as well. I do recommend this edition .
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