Tartuffe

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Dorine Character Analysis

Despite being a lowly servant girl, Dorine, along with Cléante, is one of the most rational and intelligent characters in the play. Sharp-tongued and quick-witted, she never hesitates to speak out against Tartuffe, even though Orgon eventually attempts to strike her for her words. She, too, eventually aids in the family plot against Tartuffe.

Dorine Quotes in Tartuffe

The Tartuffe quotes below are all either spoken by Dorine or refer to Dorine. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harvest Books edition of Tartuffe published in 1992.
Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

But he’s quite lost his senses since he fell
Beneath Tartuffe’s infatuating spell
He calls him brother, and loves him as his life
Preferring him to mother, child, or wife.

Related Characters: Dorine (speaker), Tartuffe, Orgon
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

Dorine, the family maid, joins the fanmily dispute about Tartuffe. Although lower class, Dorine is far more reasonable and rational than many in the family she serves. She often uses her tart tongue to unmask hypocrisy and foolishness, and does so here, criticizing Orgon for having "lost his senses" under Tartuffe's "spell."

Tartuffe's true evil, in Dorine's view, lies in the fact that he has disrupted the family order. As patriarch, Orgon should care about his family over all else, except for his king. Instead, though, he favors Tartuffe over "mother, child, or wife," putting the supposed holy man's needs above those of his family. 

In addition to Orgon's skewed priorities, Dorine also calls attention to Orgon's complete lack of reason now that he's under Tartuffe's spell. Having "lost his senses," he can no longer think rationally, instead blindly following Tartuffe's suggestions no matter what they are. 

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Act 1, Scene 4 Quotes

Orgon: Has all been well, these two days I’ve been gone?
How are the family? What’s been going on?

Dorine: Your wife, two days ago, had a bad fever
And a fierce headache which refused to leave her

Orgon: Ah. And Tartuffe?

Dorine: Tartuffe: Why, he’s round and red,
Bursting with health, and excellently fed.

Orgon: Poor fellow!

Related Characters: Orgon (speaker), Dorine (speaker), Tartuffe, Elmire
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

Orgon, the patriarch, returns, and is greeted by his family. Despite having been away, Orgon does not care in the slightest about his family's welfare. Although Dorine tells him that his wife, Elmire, has been sick, Orgon only wants to hear about how Tartuffe has been. He has lost his emotional connection with his family, unable to put their needs over those of Tartuffe. 

In fact, blind has Orgon become in his devotion to Tartuffe, that even when Dorine tells him that Tartuffe is healthy, "round and red," he still responds with "Poor fellow!" In Orgon's mind, Tartuffe is a persecuted and pious holy man. No matter what Tartuffe does to prove that the contrary is true, Orgon refuses to see or to hear. He has lost his reason, and is completely under the influence of Tartuffe. 

Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

Orgon: Poor though he is, he’s a gentleman just the same.

Dorine: Yes, so he tells us; and, Sir, it seems to me
Such pride goes very ill with piety.
A man whose spirit spurns this dungy earth
Ought not to brag of lands and noble birth;
Such worldly arrogance will hardly square
With meek devotion and the life of prayer.

Related Characters: Orgon (speaker), Dorine (speaker), Tartuffe
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:

Orgon has announced that he plans to marry his daughter, Mariane, to Tartuffe. Although Mariane attempts to remain obedient to her father, her maid Dorine grows furious. Although Orgon claims that Tartuffe is Mariane's equal in birth though not in wealth, Dorine counters that if Tartuffe were truly holy, he wouldn't claim to be a gentleman; doing so is impious and prideful, she argues. 

Dorine's argument displays a conflict within this play between religion and money. Tartuffe lusts for Orgon's wealth, and uses religion as a ploy to steal his money and property from him. He has turned religion into a tool in order to satisfy his own greed – a terrible sin. Dorine, meanwhile, is espousing that the social hierarchy exists according to God's will, and that people should stay in their places rather than try to "move up in the world." While such a worldview seems strange in modern times, when the play was written it was common.

Act 2, Scene 3 Quotes

Dorine: Faced with a fate so hideous and absurd,
Can you not utter one dissenting word?

Mariane: What good would it do? A father’s power is great.

Related Characters: Dorine (speaker), Mariane (speaker), Tartuffe, Orgon
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:

After having stood up to Orgon over Mariane's marriage to Tartuffe – and failed – Dorine scolds Mariane for not being able to tell her father what she really wants. Mariane, however, counters that she cannot go against her father.

This exchange highlights one of the biggest conflicts within the play: the struggle between the family and the father. On one hand, Orgon, the patriarch, is deeply foolish and horrifically misguided. He is trusting Tartuffe at the expense of all around him, and is potentially driving his family towards ruin.

On the other hand, during this time period, the father was considered nothing short of the king of his family. They were supposed to do whatever he said and to go against him, as Dorine suggests Mariane do, was a terrible crime. At the same time, though, the father was supposed to protect his family at all costs--something that Orgon has ceased to do. Since he has failed in his duty as the father, Dorine believes that it is not sinful to defy him, although the timid Mariane disagrees. Through the misguided Orgon, the play both mine's comedy and tragedy from this contradiction in society: that the father must be obeyed by his family, even if his behavior might destroy the family.

Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

Tartuffe: Hang up my hair-shirt, put my scourges in place,
And pray, Laurent, for Heaven’s perpetual grace.
I’m going to the prison now, to share
My last few coins with the poor wretches there.
Dorine: Dear God, what affectation! What a fake!

Related Characters: Tartuffe (speaker), Dorine (speaker)
Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:

At last, Tartuffe, who has been the subject of so much conversation but has not yet actually appeared in the play, comes on stage. When he does, he is loudly and ostentatiously telling his servant to put away his "scourges" (with which he presumably beats himself while in prayer) as he goes to give his last pennies to prisoners. With these few lines, Tartuffe has already revealed what a fraud he is. As rational characters like Cléante have already made clear, true faith does not draw attention to itself. The point of piety is not to show off to others, but to display one's faith to God alone. Tartuffe, though, is all about the showing off.

Tartuffe's affected piety should be laughable to all audience members, and for good measure, Dorine ridicules them as well. Yet it is important to remember that despite Tartuffe's barely concealed hypocrisy, Orgon still believes in him – a mark of just how blind and foolish the patriarch of this family truly is. 

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Dorine Character Timeline in Tartuffe

The timeline below shows where the character Dorine appears in Tartuffe. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Reason vs. Emotion Theme Icon
Religion, Piety, and Morals Theme Icon
Appearances and Beauty Theme Icon
...attempt to tell Madame Pernelle about the religious tyranny that he inflicts upon their household. Dorine is especially harsh in her criticism of him, saying that he has “usurp[ed]” Orgon’s place... (full context)
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Reason vs. Emotion Theme Icon
Religion, Piety, and Morals Theme Icon
Appearances and Beauty Theme Icon
...Elmire; Madame Pernelle believes such ostentatiously moral people to be truly virtuous, while Cléante and Dorine assert that they are hypocrites like Tartuffe, using excessive shows of faith to mask their... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Reason vs. Emotion Theme Icon
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Dorine and Cléante stay behind in order to avoid Madame Pernelle. They discuss their frustrations with... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
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Hearing Orgon, all exit except for Cléante and Dorine. (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Reason vs. Emotion Theme Icon
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...and Cléante attempts to greet him. Orgon, however, interrupts his brother-in-law in order to ask Dorine how the household has fared in his absence. Although the servant girl attempts to tell... (full context)
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Sarcastically, Dorine takes her leave, telling Orgon that she will let Elmire know how worried her husband... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
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Dorine, who has clearly been eavesdropping, interrupts an angered Orgon and begins to mock him, saying... (full context)
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Religion, Piety, and Morals Theme Icon
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As Orgon attempts again and again to speak to Mariane, Dorine interrupts him at every turn. When she criticizes Tartuffe’s hypocrisy and low social status, Orgon... (full context)
Religion, Piety, and Morals Theme Icon
Dorine goes so far as to suggest that, should Mariane be forced to marry Tartuffe, she... (full context)
Reason vs. Emotion Theme Icon
Family and Fathers Theme Icon
...Orgon once again tries to persuade his daughter of the benefits of marriage to Tartuffe, Dorine interjects again and again, saying that she does so only because of her love for... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Religion, Piety, and Morals Theme Icon
Family and Fathers Theme Icon
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Dorine scolds Mariane for her inability to stand up to Orgon. Mariane responds that a daughter... (full context)
Reason vs. Emotion Theme Icon
Religion, Piety, and Morals Theme Icon
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As Dorine continues to question her, Mariane claims that she will kill herself if she must marry... (full context)
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Mariane begs Dorine to help her avoid marriage to Tartuffe, but the servant refuses. When Mariane in turn... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
Reason vs. Emotion Theme Icon
...Mariane retorting that he should find another lady who will love him as he deserves. Dorine watches, equally amused and appalled. (full context)
Reason vs. Emotion Theme Icon
...actually leaving); Mariane, in turn, stubbornly agrees with him. As Valère reluctantly goes to leave, Dorine at last steps in, physically pulling the lovers towards each other and telling them that... (full context)
Reason vs. Emotion Theme Icon
Family and Fathers Theme Icon
After a scene during which Dorine comically runs back and forth between Valère and Mariane in order to keep them from... (full context)
Reason vs. Emotion Theme Icon
Heartened by Dorine’s words, Valère and Mariane pledge their undying love to each other. Dorine, exasperated by the... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Religion, Piety, and Morals Theme Icon
...just heard of Orgon’s plan to marry Mariane to Tartuffe, enters in a fury as Dorine tries to calm him down, urging him not to give in to emotion. Dorine reminds... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
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Tartuffe enters, and upon seeing Dorine, calls offstage for his “hair-shirt” and “scourge”—tools that particularly religious men would use to harm... (full context)
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Religion, Piety, and Morals Theme Icon
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Tartuffe gives Dorine a handkerchief and urges her to cover her chest with it lest she inspire impure... (full context)
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Insulted, Tartuffe tells Dorine that he will leave, but when Dorine tells him that Elmire is on her way... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
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As soon as Tartuffe exits, Elmire, Mariane, and Dorine enter, and Dorine begs Cléante’s assistance, telling him that Mariane’s heart will break if she... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
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Dorine and Cléante each try to intervene, but Orgon will not even let them speak. (full context)
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Elmire asks Dorine to bring in Tartuffe, while sending away Cléante and Mariane. Although Dorine warns her mistress... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
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The women enter: Madame Pernelle, Mariane, Elmire, and Dorine. Orgon’s mother says that she has heard “strange tales of very strange events.” Orgon tells... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
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...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. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 6
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Religion, Piety, and Morals Theme Icon
...him, Tartuffe remains implacable and self-satisfied, claiming that he wishes only to serve his King. Dorine marvels that Tartuffe can pervert such a sacred symbol and use it for his own... (full context)