Tartuffe

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Tartuffe Act 5, Scene 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As the family attempts to plan, a bailiff (officer of the court) named Monsieur Loyal enters and asks to speak with Orgon. He says that he has come from Tartuffe, and that he bears a message. Although at first Loyal seems kind and courteous, he has in fact come to serve Orgon with an order of eviction.
Hypocrisy is contagious. Like Tartuffe, Loyal seems trustworthy, but is actually malicious. His presence also underlines the dire nature of the situation for both Orgon and his loved ones—the law appears to be on Tartuffe’s side.
Themes
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Family and Fathers Theme Icon
Appearances and Beauty Theme Icon
Although the family is furious, Monsieur Loyal will not budge, saying that the law is on Tartuffe’s side and that Orgon’s household must leave Tartuffe’s property. He goes on to say that he is going to return with ten men who will confiscate all of Orgon’s furniture, but that he will give the family until the morning to leave. Orgon, Damis, and even Dorine are furious, threatening Loyal with bodily harm. Cléante attempts to maintain order as Loyal exits.
At last, the full weight of Orgon’s poor judgment has come crashing down on him and his family. Because of his belief in Tartuffe, all those Orgon loves may soon be homeless and penniless. Tartuffe has manipulated both him and the law. In this extreme moment the family reacts with extreme emotion, except for Cléante who maintains at least some calm.
Themes
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Reason vs. Emotion Theme Icon
Family and Fathers Theme Icon