The First Paper


  1. How absolute was the absolutism of Louis XIV? Analyze Colbert's Instructions for the Commissioners (Beik, 85-90) to respond to this question. [Hint: you might want to review Bossuet's Politics Derived from the Words of Holy Scripture; and/or Beik's discussion of absolutism on 2-4.]

  2. Why did Louis XIV institute the Grands Jours in the Auvergne in 1665? (Beik, 108-20) In what ways did these unusual legal proceedings further the goals of the crown in the 1660s?

  3. At the end of Tartuffe, the royal officer who comes to arrest Tartuffe and restore order in Orgon's household has the following speech:
    Our prince is not a friend to double dealing,
    His eyes can read men's inmost hearts, and all
    The art of hypocrites cannot deceive him.
    His sharp discernment sees things clear and true;
    His mind cannot too easily be swayed,
    For reason always holds the balance even.
    He honors and exalts true piety,
    But knows the false, and views it with disgust.
    This fellow was by no means apt to fool him,
    Far subtler snares have failed against his wisdom,
    And his quick insight pierced immediately
    The hidden baseness of this tortuous heart.
    -Tartuffe, Act V, sc. 7

Based on this speech, and on the plot of the play, would you agree that Molière is an unabashed apologist for Louis XIV, and that the point of his play is to glorify the absolute monarchy?