There are three eternal characters in the world. The great writers depicted them as they were in their times, correctly guessing that they would always exist. These are the characters: first it is Hamlet, who tells himself in a monologue: to be or not to be, that is the question; then comes Tartuffe who moans his prayers while thinking of evil things; finally there is Don Juan, that tells everyone: I believe nothing. Molière alone found these two characters. He stigmatized Tartuffe and chastised Don Juan.
Man remains in doubt like Hamlet without the truth, without conscience like Tartuffe and without a heart like Don Juan. Hamlet doubts, it is true, but he seeks, he is unhappy, disbelief bothers him, his kindest illusions vanish, and the ideal and the truth that he seeks fall into the great abyss, and like Ophelia it remains lost forever. He then becomes mad and dies in desperation. God will forgive him though, because he had a heart, loved and it was the world that took away what he wanted to keep.
These two characters are atrocious; they are selfish and hypocritical, each in their own way. Tartuffe wears the mask of virtue, making him hateful. Don Juan believes nothing, not even in God.
Have you ever had the impression of seeing in that famous symbol of Don Juan and in the statue of the Commander, the skepticism before the turning tables; the corrupted human spirit before the most brutal manifestation? Up until now the world has only seen a human figure in them. Don’t you think that you should see something more? That the incomparable genius of Molière showed common sense in his work with respect to spiritual things as he always had with respect to human faults?
Gérard de Nerval