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The King Symbol Icon
Along with the Church, the King is responsible for maintaining order and morality within society. Much of Orgon’s status, prestige, and wealth stems from the fact that he aided the King in the recent wars. Although Tartuffe is able to use religion to his own sinister purposes, the King in the play represents incorruptible justice. At the end of the play, Tartuffe attempts to use the law in order to swindle Orgon and his family out of their own property. This act backfires, however, because the King sees through Tartuffe’s hypocritical charade, arrests him, and gives Orgon back his property. This last minute decree, seemingly out of the blue, demonstrates the King’s power and wisdom. No misdeed is too small and no hypocrite is too cunning to fool the King. He is the ultimate source of order within Tartuffe.

The King Quotes in Tartuffe

The Tartuffe quotes below all refer to the symbol of The King. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harvest Books edition of Tartuffe published in 1992.
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:
Get the entire Tartuffe LitChart as a printable PDF.
Tartuffe PDF

The King Symbol Timeline in Tartuffe

The timeline below shows where the symbol The King 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
...Tartuffe is the house of Orgon, a prosperous middle class man who has served the King of France well in a recent war—he is currently away on a two-day business trip... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Reason vs. Emotion Theme Icon
Religion, Piety, and Morals Theme Icon
...power over Orgon. Cléante in particular is surprised, because of Orgon’s honorable service to the King in the recent civil wars. Both characters are especially disturbed that Orgon seems to value... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Reason vs. Emotion Theme Icon
Family and Fathers Theme Icon
...the box was full of the papers of a friend who was disloyal to the King, and that he would be ruined if they were found in his possession. So uneasy... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 6
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Religion, Piety, and Morals Theme Icon
...news: he has heard that Tartuffe has brought the contents of the strongbox to the King, and that police officers are on their way to arrest Orgon…led, of course, by Tartuffe.... (full context)
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Religion, Piety, and Morals Theme Icon
...at 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... (full context)
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Religion, Piety, and Morals Theme Icon
Family and Fathers Theme Icon
Appearances and Beauty Theme Icon
...means to arrest Tartuffe. He explains to a shocked Orgon and his family that the King, unfooled by hypocrisy, easily saw past Tartuffe’s lies, and recognized him as a criminal and... (full context)
Religion, Piety, and Morals Theme Icon
Family and Fathers Theme Icon
...error of his ways. He urges Orgon to give thanks to the mercy of the King. For once, Orgon takes his wise brother-in-law’s advice, and the play ends with Orgon resolving... (full context)