In Moliere's Tartuffe, translated by Richard Wilbur, the central character is a man named Orgon who has been completely brainwashed and taken advantage of by the title character, a lecherous and deceitful "holy man." The plot of Tartuffe involves an incompetent head of household, Orgon, who gives up his authority by assigning it to a counselor he has picked up off of the street. Tartuffe's manipulations of Orgon's family are evident to everyone but Orgon, and to the reader they seem to be conspicuously obvious. Tartuffe appeals to Orgon's desire to be a good, upstanding, and pious man. In his religious zeal, Orgon is blind to the truth about Tartuffe's character. As a result, Orgon brings himself and his family to ruin because of his religious belief.
From the very beginning, it is evident that nearly all of the other characters see through Tartuffe's deceitful trick of piety. In Act I, Scene I, everyone at the table disagrees with Madame Pernelle, Orgon's mother, who insists that Tartuffe is a holy man, and that Organ should believe and agree with everything Tartuffe says. However, this person turns out to be a religious confidence man. Once he has acquired power over the master's property, he intends to evict him and his family from the household. It is clear from the beginning of the play that while Tartuffe is not accepted by mot of Orgon's family members, he continues to live in their house through Orgon's patronage. This indicates that Tartuffe already controls the household through Orgon's power. Tartuffe is not an example of a religious believer, but an example of a religious hypocrite.
Moliere's Tartuffe is a play emphasizing stubbornness, deceit, reputation, integrity, and the ability to be blinded by something that we see as good, although it is actually harmful. Outward appearances alone cannot be used to determine a person's quality, because it can be deceiving.