Presentation on theme: "Lecture 1 – Introduction to the Enlightenment and Tartuffe."— Presentation transcript:
Lecture 1 – Introduction to the Enlightenment and Tartuffe
The Enlightenment – so named because it describes the philosophic, rational, and scientific spirit of the age
Alternative names for The Enlightenment period Neo-Classicism – (New Classics) – because this period attempted the recapture the spirit of ancient classical thinking and literature The Age of Reason – because Reason was the prevailing idea of the period The Augustan period – this name is primarily used when referring to English writers (Pope, Swift, Addison, Steele) who imitated the literature of the time of Roman Emperor Augustus (Virgil, Horace, Ovid)
The Four Major Ideas of The Enlightenment Reason Humans are limited and not capable of understanding all the truths of the universe. To accept this is to be REASONABLE. Order There is an inherent order in all things, including the physical world and human nature. Hierarchies are part of the natural order.
Stability Nature is permanent and unchanging. Ancient people have the same basic nature as contemporary people. The General or Universal Individualism or uniqueness are not valued in people. Standards of correct reason and taste are the same for all people.
John Locke From An Essay Concerning Human Understanding If by this inquiry into the nature of the understanding, I can discover the powers thereof; how far they reach; to what things they are in any degree proportionate; and where they fail us, I suppose it may be of use to prevail with the busy mind of man to be more cautious in meddling with things exceeding its comprehension; to stop when it is at the utmost extent of its tether; and to sit down in a quiet ignorance of those things which, upon examination, are found to be beyond the reach of our capacities. Our business here is not to know all things, but those which concern our conduct. If we can find out those measures, whereby a rational creature, put in that state in which man is in this world, may and ought to govern his opinions, and actions depending thereon, we need not to be troubled that some other things escape our knowledge. NOT this John Locke THIS John Locke gustavus.edu
Why the obsession with Reason and Order??? Lots of War in Europe France – The Thirty Years War ( ) Complicated, but the nutshell version is, German protestant princes from France, Sweden, England, Denmark, and other places were fighting against the Holy Roman Empire and the German Catholic nobility. England – Civil War and the Commonwealth Period ( ) Charles I beheaded, a Commonwealth government takes over, and England is without a monarch
So, both England and France experienced long periods of chaos When the war in France and the Commonwealth Period in England came to an end, people were ready for order, and this need for order – based on REASON – is translated into the ideas of Enlightenment literature
Politics and Culture during the Enlightenment
France Louis XIV – The Sun King – While there was a lot of disorder in his own court in the form of debauchery, Louix XIV was responsible for much of the neo-classical thinking and art of the Enlightenment – The French Academy of Sciences established – There is a shift in religious thinking from a spiritual or theological basis to a rational basis – John Locke – rights of natural man based on natural laws – Education became more attainable enlarge.cfm?id_image=5355 faculty.ucc.edu
England (including the full history that will set us up for Romanticism) The Restoration period ( ) – Restoration of the monarchy. With the puritans no longer in control, the reign of the flesh set in. Charles II returns from exile in France and takes the throne Charles II was a Catholic King who concealed his religious sympathies for the sake of his protestant subject. The English were glad for his homecoming because a king meant they could have order, peace, and freedom again (stability). Charles had French companions and tastes, and his court was much like that of Louis XIV. He also insisted on the rules of French Neo- Classical literature.
England, cont. The Royal Society is founded in 1662, with much the same purpose as the French Academy The National Observatory is founded in Greenwhich
England, cont – James II (brother of Charles II) becomes king. He promoted Catholicism and the English began to worry about a future controlled by a succession of Catholic monarchs. James II was deposed during the Glorious Revolution in 1688 (glorious because it was swift and relatively non-violent), and he fled to France – William of Orange becomes king. He was married to Mary, the daughter of James II (the second college in America was named after this couple). William is a protestant, so the people relax a little.
More England 1702 – Queen Anne takes the throne. She is James IIs youngest daughter, and she will be the last Catholic monarch in Britain. The Act of Settlement in 1701 settled succession of the British crown on protestant descendents of the family – the House of Honover, a German protestant royal family. From which we got: George I – 1714 George II – 1727 And George III – (sometimes referred to in American history books as Crazy King George)
The American Revolution (and the French Revolution) occur during the reign of George III. The Enlightenment Period will begin to close with these revolutions. What Enlightenment ideas are in conflict with the ideas of these revolutions?
Qualities of Enlightenment Literature Emphasized powers of the mind Looked to Roman classical authors as models of form and simplicity of style Believed the purposes of literature were to delight and instruct Contained attacks on metaphysics, abstraction, and the theoretical sciences Rejected the whims of fashion
What, for an Enlightenment thinker, do order and reason have to do with happiness?
Tartuffe The neo-classical elements of form in Tartuffe - use of the Heroic Couplet - strict observance of the classical unities - Satire
The Heroic Couplet Iambic pentameter in pairs of rhyming lines, continuous throughout a poem (Iamb = two syllable foot with unstressed syllable followed by stressed syllable. Five iambic feet make iambic pentameter) U/U/U/U/U/
The Three Classical Unities Unity of time The action presented in the play should span the time it takes to perform the play. Unity of place All of the action occurs in the same place or within close proximity. Unity of action The play contains one, single plot.
Satire Definition: The use of humor to censor or expose human frailty (vice, pretentiousness, etc.) Moliere on the satire in Tartuffe: As the duty of comedy is to correct men by amusing them, I believed that in my occupation I could do nothing better than attack the vices of my age by making them ridiculous… The purpose of satire is not to make you laugh at your neighbor when you see his or her vices depicted on stage (or in reading a piece of satire), but to make you identify your own vices and change them.
The Enlightenment reflected in the themes of Tartuffe Emphasis on reason Presented through subject of religion Religious fanaticism is unreasonable, as is aetheism. Both represent, for Moliere, extreme positions. Cleante and Dorine serve as voices of reason in the play I , I , V
Attack on institutional religion Why do Orgon and his mother trust Tartuffe so completely? (because he dresses like a priest [a representative of the institutional church] and looks to be praying, so he must be pious? Religious rhetoric can present an incontestable answer to every question, denying any contradiction – Moliere is concerned with the corruptive potential in this. IV , I DISCERNMENT prevents abuse of religion
Emphasis on what can be empirically proven Orgon and his mother are foolish because they ignore clear evidence of Tartuffes hypocrisy Discernment is necessary is judging what is seen (Orgon sees prayer and believes it proves Tartuffes piety)
Faith in the monarchy (Enlightenment emphasis on order) King derives supreme authority from divine appointment In his realm, the king is acting for God Therefore, to disobey the king is to disobey God As Gods representative, the king is not authorized to rule unjustly Therefore, like Orgon, the king must exercise discernment to run his kingdom well
God = King = Father Humans = Subjects = spouse and children God Angels Hierarchy of Angels Humans Hierarchies of Humans Animals Insects Single celled organisms The Universal Order (chain of being)
What is our proof in the play that the king exercises good descernment? Deus ex machina (L. God from the machine) The introduction of a god or other personage in a play, usually by a mechanical contrivance, in order to untangle the plot.