Kylie’s Commentary on Tartuffe

What was interesting to me was how the characters interacted and how every aspect of their character reflected the character’s personality and underlying motivations perfectly.

The most interesting way I saw this achieved was through costuming.  For the majority of characters, the costuming is elaborate and at least close to period-accurate.  Orgon was fancily dressed, but rather frazzled and worn in appearance and costume, as well as character.  His appearance, actions, words and demeanor were tired.  Elmire’s costuming is elaborate but tasteful, with a sweeping dress and delicate embroidery.  Her costuming and appearance, her words and actions–they are all poise and composure.  Mariane was dressed, for much of the play, in a pastel pink dress, and was generally dainty.  Her costuming an demeanor showed her adherence to traditional gender roles that still persists today.

All of these were, if not period-accurate, then close enough to the untrained eye.    Tartuffe and Valere, however, were decidedly not in period accurate clothing.  Tartuffe has the correct outfit, the period outfit, except….he was wearing crocs.  He was wearing black crocs.  Similarly, Valere was wearing an Aeropostale jacket as a cape.  I see this as a delibrate costuming choice to re-emphasize the characters’ personalities and to draw attention to parallels of today.

Generally, we see crocs as something lazy and something almost distasteful.  Tartuffe, by all accounts, was both of these.  It was clear to everyone that Tartuffe was using Orgon, except to Orgon himself.  His head was too far up in the clouds to look down at the reality of his feet, as it were.

Valere, on the other hand, had an Aeropostale jacket.  This fit his character quite well, as the stereotype of that is generally spoiled, cheerful, and occasionally petulant–all things that Valere has been at one point or another.  This is especially appearant in the scene where Mariane tells Valere of her father’s plan to marry her to Tartuffe, in which they both act like children.

2 thoughts on “Kylie’s Commentary on Tartuffe

  1. carissa

    Yeah, I noticed the crocs, too! That struck me as weird. I really like your analysis of it though. It makes sense that Tartuffe would have his head up in the clouds and be so focused on his evil goals that he wouldn’t notice his shoes. It’s almost as if he is trying to pass himself off as in full-time period costume but he is cheating by wearing crocs, but trying to hide it because that is what con-artists do. They fool people and hide/distort the truth.

  2. aarenas95

    I really like this analysis, funny you bring up your criticism with the costuming because that was something that I brought up heavily in my analysis of the production. Glad I wasn’t the only one pointing that out.

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