In Moliere’s play, Tartuffe, there is a broad spectrum of characters that account for its comedy of manners and modes. One character in particular that caught my eye was Dorine, the witty and incredibly blunt servant. Although her occupation calls for obedience, Dorine is everything but, with sly come backs and an underlying agenda, Dorine goes on a quest to bring true love together.
In the play, we are introduced to a comedy in which love is on everyone’s mind; but so is money and greed. Mariane, the daughter of Orgon in the play is to be wed, and her father Orgon has his eyes set on suitor that is nothing what he seems to be. But Dorine sees through this, and is determined to reveal Tartuffe, the suitor, as the hypocritical free loader that he is. In order to properly look at Dorine, we will first analyze her relationship with her “master,” Orgon. There is one scene in particular in which Orgon, Mariane and Dorine are present, in which Orgon tells Mariane that he has chosen Tartuffe to be her husband and that she will marry him no matter what. Meanwhile, Dorine is secretly listening in on the conversation that is going on amongst the two; and because Mariane is passive towards her father and is seen as obedient, she will not protest her father’s decision, although she is truly in love with Valere. But that doesn’t mean that Dorine will not. Dorine’s wit and outspoken character shines brightly in this scene, she tells Orgon that Tartuffe is not a good suitor for his daughter and she should not marry him. Orgon with anger of Dorine’s outspokenness tries to quiet her and even threatens her and tries to slap her to try and make her silent. But she continues to speak out against him and his decision. She then stands behind Orgon so that he can not strike her and makes gestures to Mariane to fight against it, and every time Orgon would turn around she would stop or act as though she wasn’t doing anything. To the audience/reader, you can clearly see Dorine’s almost child-like behavior in which determination for the outcome she wants will be her only and main goal and she is not afraid to go after it! After this scene comes to a conclusion in which she has in a way driven Orgon away and he ends his conversation with his daughter in frustration, you can see that the power of the household is clearly in the hands of the clever servant, a definite extreme and defining moment. In other scenes in the play we also see that although Orgon becomes easily irritated by Dorine and her “insight,” but he also respects it to a certain degree. Although he wants to be seen as the powerhouse, he understands that because Dorine lives and breathes what goes on in his household, she sees and hears everything, with better knowledge than even what he has on any subject matter that resides there. This right here shows us the authoritative and persuasive characteristics that Dorine embodies. And without regard to what her occupation may tell us, we find that her occupation definitely does not define her character. Although, it is sweet to believe that Dorine is trying to bring together two people in love, she is actually trying to secure her stability within the family. A side of deception that she embodies while so eagerly trying to expose the deception that Tartuffe is soaked in. Dorine’s knowledge and determination seems to be the backbone of the play rather than the love of Mariane and Valere it self, it is with her drive that the play seems to thrive. With Dorine as the fairy Godmother in the fairy tales we read as children, only a bit more grown up in her intentions and underlying duties.
Dorine’s character reminds me much of what the personality of a “fairy godmother’’ should be, although she is a little corrupt. Dorine almost acts as a more modern version of a fairy godmother. Yes, Dorine is fighting to prolong the longevity of her career, but she is also protecting the family from harm and Tartuffe’s parasitic ways. She watches over Mariane and acts as her confidant. It seems that Dorine deceives for the good of those she cares about. She sees the love between Mariane and Valere and encourages them to see it in one another. Not to mention, she seems to be an all knowing and all seeing type character who watches over everything that goes on in the house. Although Dorine, does not have a magical wand, she does embody the power and wit of a fairy godmother, with natural distinction of knowing what’s best and having the will to do what ever it takes to make anything happen.