Dorine scolds Mariane for her inability to stand up to Orgon. Mariane responds that a daughter must obey her father, but Dorine urges her to remember her love for Valère. When Mariane responds angrily, reminding Dorine of how many times she has told her servant of her adoration for her betrothed, Dorine counters that professions of love are not the same thing as love itself.
Mariane, the dutiful daughter, is torn between her loyalty to her father and her love for her betrothed. Dorine, meanwhile, has no patience for Mariane’s docility. The issue of appearances, too, comes up here, too in relation to love as Dorine reminds Mariane her professions of love might not be sincere if she won’t follow through on them.
As Dorine continues to question her, Mariane claims that she will kill herself if she must marry Tartuffe. The servant girl responds sarcastically, telling Mariane that she is self-pitying and timid. Mariane says that she cannot stand up to her father, and that Valère must do so instead. Dorine claims that Orgon is too obsessed with Tartuffe to listen to reason, and warns Mariane of how miserable she will be while married to the vulgar, low-class Tartuffe.
Despite her hatred for Tartuffe, Mariane cannot even consider defying her father. Dorine refuses to let Mariane wallow in emotional self-pity, however, instead emphasizing to Mariane the dark future that she will face if married to Tartuffe and reminding the girl of her father’s utter infatuation with the deceitful hypocrite.
Mariane begs Dorine to help her avoid marriage to Tartuffe, but the servant refuses. When Mariane in turn claims that her despair will help end her life, Dorine tells her mistress that she will, indeed, aid her.
The rational Dorine playfully manipulates the emotional Mariane by at first refusing to help her, proving the power of reason over passion.