Tartuffe is banned

On February 1, 1694, Bishop Jean-Baptiste de La Croix de Chevrieres de Saint-Vallier condemned a planned production of Tartuffe, Molliere's satire on religious hypocrisy.

In a pastoral letter, the bishop of Quebec said such plays couldn't be enacted without "all concerned falling into moral sin." Saint-Vallier has denounced lead actor Sieur de Mareuil for blasphemy and impiety and denied him the sacraments. Tartuffe is a play about a hypocrite man, who gains absolute influence over Orgon, the master of the house, where the play is set, through his shows of piety.

The play was attacked by religious opinion in France when it was first presented in 1664. Moliere was furious about the reaction, but in the 1690ies, the play was produced everywhere in France, except in Quebec.

Note that blasphemy was a crime in pioneer French Canada. As early as 1636 a Canadian was punished in a pillory for this offense.

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