King Louis Xiv's Role In Tartuffe

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The role that King Louis XIV plays in Tartuffe, although not a character himself, affects the whole outcome of the play. King Louis XIV was an absolute monarch and was responsible for restoring order in society. The age of reason, 1660-1805, was a time to restore order while finding humor in those who stray away from order. King Louis was responsible for ensuring the safety and order of the country, and we come to learn that his power spreads much further than suspected. By divine right and being an offstage presence, King Louis XIV has the ability to control and assist everyone, whether it is warranted or not. Moliere was specific in mentioning King Louis’ power over the country to foreshadow his role in Tartuffe. Instead of appealing to the King to save the day in a believable fashion, Moliere creates a comical play to allow the audience to come to the realization themselves. People blindly follow the king, similarly to how Orgon and others blindly follow Tartuffe. King Louis XIV ruled the country for seventy-two years, during which time people grew to trust that he was doing what was best for the country, without ever knowing what he was doing. Moliere states to the King: “ it is a piece of great temerity on my part to come and importune a great monarch in the midst of his glorious conquest” (Moliere, Second Petition). Moliere is captivated by the King and believes that he is not worthy of his time, but seeks assistance regardless. Orgon, in contrast, believes that

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