Alone with her husband, Elmire tells Orgon to hide himself under a table. He remains completely unconvinced, but does as she says. Once he is concealed, she tells him that she is going to encourage Tartuffe’s advances in order to expose his true treacherous nature. She begs Orgon, however, to intervene and save her from Tartuffe’s “odious lust” as soon as he is convinced.
Elmire knows how difficult it is for Orgon to differentiate between truth and appearances, and makes absolutely certain that he understands that she will only be pretending to return Tartuffe’s affection.