Je l’ai vu, dis-je, vu…

Je l’ai vu, dis-je, vu, de mes propres yeux vu,
Ce qui s’appelle vu !

zhuh lay VEW, deezh, VEW, duh may pro-pruh zyuh VEW,
suh key sah-pell VEW!

Click below to hear the sound file:  

I saw it, I tell you, saw, with my own eyes saw,
what you call “saw”!

The play: Tartuffe, ou l’Hypocrite (taar-TEWF, oo lee-po-KREET; Tartuffe, or The Hypocrite). The playwright: Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, aka Molière, known for his comedies. Lived from 1622 – 1673. The story: Tartuffe pretends to be obsessively devout, but actually has designs on his host’s wife and his host’s money. His plan: get Orgon to deed over his house and all his possessions to him, while secretly getting Elvire into bed.

The scene: Orgon has hidden under a table (at his wife’s behest) in order to witness the proof of Tartuffe’s treachery for himself. He sees Tartuffe hitting on Elvire most shamelessly; but Orgon’s mother still won’t believe what Orgon is trying to tell her. Orgon insists: Act V, scene 3.

Je l’ai vu, dis-je, vu, de mes propres yeux vu,
Ce qui s’appelle vu !

This famous line-and-a-half clearly expresses his exasperation, by the repetition of the word vu (saw or seen), the past participle of voir, to see. It is funny not only because of this emphasis and his frantic state of mind, but also because in the previous four acts of the play, it is Orgon who has been the “blind” one. Others in the household, from his servant to his wife, spend four and a half acts trying to show Orgon the truth about Tartuffe.

You can read the play in English in many places on the internet. I was only able to find one source in the original French, at this link. Unfortunately, the site sports annoying impossible-to-kill flickering ads. Please don’t go to that link if you are prone to migraines! If you can find a better site, please let me know and I will change this link.

One response to “Je l’ai vu, dis-je, vu…

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Je l’ai vu, dis-je, vu… « Spk Frnch -- Topsy.com

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