Tartuffe

Orgon Character Analysis

A middle class landowner who served the King of France well in a recent civil war, Orgon makes the mistake of placing his trust in the devious, hypocritical Tartuffe. Throughout the play, Orgon bullies his daughter Mariane, disowns his son Damis, and neglects his wife Elmire because of Tartuffe’s negative influence. Although Elmire eventually demonstrates to Orgon the depth of Tartuffe’s trickery, it takes a decree from the King himself in order to save Orgon’s family from Tartuffe’s greedy machinations.

Orgon Quotes in Tartuffe

The Tartuffe quotes below are all either spoken by Orgon or refer to Orgon. 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:

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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:

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Act 1, Scene 5 Quotes

There’s been no loftier soul since time began.
He is a man who…a man who…an excellent man.

Related Characters: Orgon (speaker), Tartuffe
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

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Under his tutelage my soul’s been freed
From earthly loves, and every human tie:
My mother, children, brother, and wife would die,
And I’d not feel a single moment’s pain.

Related Characters: Orgon (speaker), Tartuffe
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

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He used to come into our church each day
And humbly kneel nearby and start to pray.
He’d draw the eyes of everybody there
By the deep fervor of his heartfelt prayer;
He’d sign and weep and sometimes with a sound
Of rapture he would bend and kiss the ground.

Related Characters: Orgon (speaker), Tartuffe
Related Symbols: The Catholic Church
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

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He guides our lives, and to protect my honor
Stays by my wife, and keeps an eye upon her;
He tells me whom he sees, and all she does,
And seems more jealous than I ever was!

Related Characters: Orgon (speaker), Tartuffe, Elmire
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:

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How do you fail to see it, may I ask?
Is not a face quite different than a mask?
Cannot sincerity and cunning art,
Reality and semblance, be told apart?

Related Characters: Cléante (speaker), Tartuffe, Orgon
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:

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There’s just one insight I would dare to claim:
I know that true and false are not the same;
And just as there is nothing I more revere
Than a soul whose faith is steadfast and sincere,
Nothing that I more cherish and admire
Than honest zeal and true religious fire,
So there is nothing that I find more base
Than specious piety’s dishonest face—

Related Characters: Cléante (speaker), Orgon
Related Symbols: The Catholic Church
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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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:

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Act 3, Scene 6 Quotes

Orgon: Can it be true, this dreadful thing I hear?

Tartuffe: Yes, Brother, I’m a wicked man, I fear;
A wretched sinner, all depraved and twisted,
The greatest villain that has ever existed.
My life’s one heap of crimes, which grows each minute;
There’s naught but foulness and corruption in it;
And I perceive that Heaven, outraged by me,
Has chosen this occasion to mortify me
Charge me with any deed you wish to name;
I’l not defend myself, but take the blame.
Believe what you are told, and drive Tartuffe
Like some base criminal from beneath your roof;
Yes, drive me hence, and with a parting curse:
I shan’t protest, for I deserve far worse.

Orgon (to Damis): Ah, you deceitful boy, how dare you try
To stain his purity with so foul a lie?

Related Characters: Tartuffe (speaker), Orgon (speaker), Damis
Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:

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Villain, be still!
I know your motives; I know you wish him ill:
Yes, all of you—wife, children, servants, all—
Conspire against him and desire his fall
Employing every shameful trick you can
To alienate me from this saintly man
Ah, but the more you seek to drive him away
The more I’ll do to keep him. Without delay,
I’ll spite this household and confound its pride
By giving him my daughter as his bride.

Related Characters: Orgon (speaker), Tartuffe, Damis
Page Number: 100-101
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 4, Scene 3 Quotes

Sir, by that Heaven which sees me here distressed,
And by whatever else can move your breast,
Do not employ a father’s power, I pray you,
To crush my heart and force it to obey you,
Nor by your harsh commands oppress me so
That I’ll begrudge the duty which I owe—
And do not so embitter and enslave me
That I shall hate the very life you gave me.

Related Characters: Mariane (speaker), Orgon
Page Number: 114
Explanation and Analysis:

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I am amazed, and don’t know what to say;
Your blindness simply takes my breath away.
You are indeed bewitched, to take no warning
From our account of what occurred this morning.

Related Characters: Elmire (speaker), Tartuffe, Orgon
Page Number: 116
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 4, Scene 4 Quotes

I’m going to act quite strangely, now, and you
Must not be shocked at anything I do.
Whatever I may say, you must excuse
As part of that deceit I’m forced to use.

Related Characters: Elmire (speaker), Tartuffe, Orgon
Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 4, Scene 5 Quotes

Why worry about the man? Each day he grows
More gullible; one can lead him by the nose.
To find us here would fill him with delight,
And if he saw the worst, he’d doubt his sight.

Related Characters: Tartuffe (speaker), Orgon, Elmire
Page Number: 128
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 4, Scene 7 Quotes

Well, so you thought you’d fool me, my dear saint!
How soon you wearied of the saintly life—
Wedding my daughter, and coveting my wife!
I’ve long suspected you, and had a feeling
That soon I’d catch you at your double-dealing.
Hust now, you’ve given me evidence galore;
It’s quite enough; I have no wish for more.

Related Characters: Orgon (speaker), Tartuffe
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 5, Scene 1 Quotes

Orgon: Enough, by God! I’m through with pious men:
Henceforth I’ll hate the whole false brotherhood,
And persecute them worse than Satan could.

Cléante: Ah, there you go—extravagant as ever!
Why can you not be rational? You never
Manage to take the middle course, it seems,
But jump, instead, between absurd extremes.

Related Characters: Orgon (speaker), Cléante (speaker), Tartuffe
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 5, Scene 6 Quotes

Sir, all is well; rest easy, and be grateful.
We serve a Prince to whom all sham is hateful,
A Prince who sees into our inmost hearts,
And can’t be fooled by any trickster’s arts.
His royal soul, though generous and human,
Views all things with discernment and acumen;
His sovereign reason is not lightly swayed,
And all his judgments are discreetly weighed.
He honors righteous men of every kind,
And yet his zeal for virtue is not blind,
Nor does his love of piety numb his wits
And make him tolerant of hypocrites.
‘Twas hardly likely that this man could cozen
A King who’s fouled such liars by the dozen,
With one keen glance,
The King perceived the whole
Perverseness and corruption of his soul,
And thus high Heaven’s justice was displayed:
Betraying you, the rogue stood self-betrayed.

Related Characters: Police Officer (speaker), Tartuffe, Orgon
Related Symbols: The King
Page Number: 161-62
Explanation and Analysis:

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Orgon Character Timeline in Tartuffe

The timeline below shows where the character Orgon appears in Tartuffe. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Family and Fathers Theme Icon
The setting for the entirety of Tartuffe is the house of Orgon, a prosperous middle class man who has served the King of France well in a... (full context)
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Reason vs. Emotion Theme Icon
Religion, Piety, and Morals Theme Icon
Appearances and Beauty Theme Icon
The discussion turns to Tartuffe, a holy man whom Orgon and Madame Pernelle revere. The other characters believe him to be deceitful and hypocritical. They... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Reason vs. Emotion Theme Icon
Religion, Piety, and Morals Theme Icon
...Madame Pernelle. They discuss their frustrations with her, as well as Tartuffe’s increasing power over Orgon. Cléante in particular is surprised, because of Orgon’s honorable service to the King in the... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
Family and Fathers Theme Icon
...and Damis reenter, glad to be rid of Madame Pernelle, and anticipating the arrival of Orgon. They discuss Mariane’s impending wedding to the man she loves, Valère, and worry that Tartuffe... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
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Orgon enters, and Cléante attempts to greet him. Orgon, however, interrupts his brother-in-law in order to... (full context)
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Sarcastically, Dorine takes her leave, telling Orgon that she will let Elmire know how worried her husband was about her. (full context)
Act 1, Scene 5
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Cléante, appalled by what he’s just witnessed, attempts to reason with Orgon, and to warn him of the dangers Tartuffe poses. Orgon, however, refuses to listen to... (full context)
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Accused of impiety by Orgon, Cléante explains the difference between hypocrisy and honesty, asserting that men often fail to listen... (full context)
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Cléante cautiously asks Orgon if he is indeed postponing his daughter Mariane’s marriage to her beloved, Valère. Orgon replies... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
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Orgon finds his daughter Mariane and praises her for her obedience, though not before checking for... (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 that she has heard evil gossip that Mariane is... (full context)
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As Orgon attempts again and again to speak to Mariane, Dorine interrupts him at every turn. When... (full context)
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...Mariane be forced to marry Tartuffe, she will not be faithful to him, asserting that Orgon will be culpable for all of Mariane’s sins, since he will be responsible for the... (full context)
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Orgon claims that he does not want to give Mariane to Valère because her betrothed does... (full context)
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As Orgon once again tries to persuade his daughter of the benefits of marriage to Tartuffe, Dorine... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
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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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
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...other—and then begin to fight again. Dorine cuts them off completely, and reminds them that Orgon’s plan to marry Mariane to Tartuffe must be stopped. She advises Mariane to “postpone” the... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
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Damis, who has just heard of Orgon’s plan to marry Mariane to Tartuffe, enters in a fury as Dorine tries to calm... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
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Still reasonable and polite, Elmire asks Tartuffe if he is worried that she will tell Orgon about his feelings for her. Tartuffe replies that he knows her to be so charitable... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
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...endurance, Damis springs out of the closet and declares that if Elmire will not tell Orgon of Tartuffe’s treachery, then he will. Elmire explains to him that a good wife ignores... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
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Fortuitously enough, Orgon immediately enters. Damis seizes the opportunity to tell his father that Tartuffe has made an... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 6
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Shocked, Orgon asks Tartuffe if this is true; and Tartuffe replies that it is, extravagantly and “piously”... (full context)
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Tartuffe goes even further, apparently defending Damis from his father, and telling Orgon that one should not trust in appearances. He urges Damis to insult him more, saying... (full context)
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Even further angered by what he views as Tartuffe’s blamelessness, Orgon berates and threatens his son. Tartuffe continues to “defend” Damis (which of course only makes... (full context)
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...Damis attempts to keep his father from carrying out this terrible course of action, but Orgon only becomes increasingly stubborn, calling his son a “monster” and a “villain” as Tartuffe begs... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 7
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With Damis gone, Tartuffe calls Orgon “brother,” and tells him how deeply it hurts when someone tries to slander him “in... (full context)
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Tartuffe says that he would rather leave the house than create further discord, but Orgon begs him to stay. Tartuffe then warns Orgon that his family will continue to plot... (full context)
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Continuing his tactic of reverse psychology, Tartuffe tells Orgon that from now on he will stay far away from Elmire to avoid any impropriety.... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
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...the next act opens with Cléante telling Tartuffe that the whole town is talking about Orgon’s fight with Damis. (full context)
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...no matter who is in the wrong, it would be Christian of Tartuffe to persuade Orgon to forgive his own son. Tartuffe, however, contends that if he does so, he will... (full context)
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Cléante turns the conversation towards Orgon’s decision to give Tartuffe his entire estate, telling the hypocrite that he should not have... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
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...Cléante’s assistance, telling him that Mariane’s heart will break if she must marry Tartuffe. Hearing Orgon coming, she urges the family to “stand together” to try to change their patriarch’s mind. (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
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The moment that he enters, Orgon shows Mariane her marriage contract, and essentially commands her to be happy about the match.... (full context)
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Orgon is almost swayed, but when Mariane says that she would rather become a nun than... (full context)
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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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When Elmire reminds him of Tartuffe’s attempted seduction of her this morning, Orgon asserts that she is doing so merely to back up Damis. He goes on to... (full context)
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When Orgon tells Elmire that nothing anyone says will shake his faith in Tartuffe, his wife asks... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
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Alone with her husband, Elmire tells Orgon to hide himself under a table. He remains completely unconvinced, but does as she says.... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 5
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...secret, closes the door to ensure that the two of them are alone (all as Orgon keeps watch from under the table). Elmire, pretending to be flighty and foolish, apologizes to... (full context)
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...show him physical affection in order to prove her love. Unwilling to be unfaithful to Orgon, Elmire attempts to signal him to reveal himself but he does nothing. Tartuffe, meanwhile, asserts... (full context)
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...she will give Tartuffe “concrete evidence” of her affection. She urges him to see if Orgon is near, but Tartuffe mocks Orgon, saying that his host grows “[m]ore gullible” and blind... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 6
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Appalled, Orgon comes out of hiding, but Elmire (despite signaling him moments before) tells him to go... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 7
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As Tartuffe comes back to announce that the house is empty, Orgon leaps out from behind Elmire and begins to berate Tartuffe for attempting to marry his... (full context)
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At this, Tartuffe shows his true colors, saying that since Orgon made him his heir and signed over all he owned, it is his former patron... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 8
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Elmire asks what Tartuffe meant, and Orgon explains to her that he has indeed signed over all his lands and property to... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
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Act 5 opens a short time later, with Cléante trying to calm down Orgon, who is extremely upset about the previously mentioned strong-box. He reveals that the box was... (full context)
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Orgon bemoans that such a seemingly pious man could be so evil and degraded. He resolves... (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 her... (full context)
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Cléante reminds Orgon that they are wasting time, and that they must figure out how to stop Tartuffe.... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
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...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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 5
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Madame Pernelle now believes Tartuffe’s treachery and, as Orgon was before, is “thunderstruck.” Dorine reacts sarcastically. Orgon scolds her, but Cléante and Elmire intervene... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 6
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...the strongbox to the King, and that police officers are on their way to arrest Orgon…led, of course, by Tartuffe. He urges Orgon to flee, as does Cléante. (full context)
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Before Orgon can run away, however, Tartuffe enters, followed by the Officer, and announces that Orgon must... (full context)
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Tartuffe orders the Officer to arrest Orgon—but instead of doing so, The Officer announces that he means to arrest Tartuffe. He explains... (full context)
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The family is relieved; as the women praise God, Cléante stops Orgon from insulting Tartuffe, telling him that it is undignified to do so, and that he... (full context)