In Moliere's Tartuffe, the character Madam Pernell plays the role of Orgon's mother. She is a cynical woman who is very stubborn in her ways. Madame Pernell is very strong willed and this creates a problem for her character. Throughout the play Tartuffe fools her. Tartuffe plays on her weakness by making her believe he is a humble, trustworthy man. Her stubbornness leads to her own confusion and eventually embarrassment throughout the play. .
In Act I, Madame Pernell is perceived as a dominant, in charge woman. She talks down to Dorine, Mariane, Cleante, and Damis. She states, " This house appalls me. No one in it will pay attention for a single minute. I offer good advice, but you won't hear it. Children, I take my leave much vexed in spirit. You all break in and chatter on and on. It's like a madhouse with the keeper gone." (I,i,7-12) She is scolding them for being rude, when she is in fact interrupting the other characters and being impolite herself. .
Madame Pernell respects Tartuffe. She believes he is a good man. The other characters try to explain to her that Tartuffe is a phony, but she insists he is looking out for their own good. She says, "I can't say what his servant's morals may be; His own great goodness I can guarantee. You all regard him with distaste and fear because he tells you what you"re loath to hear, condemns your sins, points out your moral flaws, and humbly strives to further Heavens" cause." (I,i,73-78) In this phrase she is condoning Tartuffe's wonderful assets and she doesn't realize she is making herself look like a fool. She states everything in Tartuffe's defense, when in fact, the family knows differently about Tartuffe.
After Tartuffe has betrayed the family, Orgon tells his mother and she still does not believe Tartuffe is not an honorable man. She states " No, my son, I"ll never bring myself to think him guilty of such a thing.