The Catholic Church
plays a hugely important role in the lives of Tartuffe’s
characters. To them, it represents traditional aspects of religion, such as piety, charity, and faith. Further, because the Church was so powerful in seventeenth-century France, it takes on added significance, representing order and obedience. Tartuffe
uses the power of this symbol in order to manipulate the characters around him, especially Orgon
, who is completely taken in by his religious charade. Tartuffe is ostentatiously charitable, humble, and pious, taking on aspects associated with the Church in order to seem like a representative of the Church itself. The connection that Tartuffe creates between himself and the Church makes him extremely dangerous. As long as he is linked to this powerful symbol, the characters working against him cannot fully defeat him. Only when the King himself declares Tartuffe a hypocrite, at last severing Tartuffe’s ties to the Church, does he cease to be dangerous to Orgon and his family.