Renowned for his satirical works, Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, 1622–1673) delighted in lampooning the social pretensions and conceits of 17th-century French society. In this 1664 verse comedy with serious overtones, Tartuffe, a penniless scoundrel and religious poseur, is invited by a gullible benefactor to live in his home. Imposing a rigidly puritanical regimen on the formerly happy household, Tartuffe wreaks havoc among family members. He breaks off the daughter's engagement, attempts to seduce the wife of his host, acquires his patron's property, and eventually resorts to blackmail and extortion. But ultimately, his schemes and malicious deeds lead to his own downfall.