In various editions of the play, Tartuffe is called "The Impostor" or "The Hypocrite." He is a superb scoundrel who can don any pose and become a master of it. As a religious ascetic, he convinces Orgon and Madame Pernelle that he is a devoutly pious and humble man; his obvious hypocrisy, however, is apparent to the reader and to the audience.
Tartuffe's superiority lies in the fact that he can accurately analyze the weaknesses of his victims and then exploit these flaws for his own advantage. He is no simple or ignorant charlatan; instead, he is an alert and adept hypocrite who uses every means to bring about his success.
Molière humanizes Tartuffe by endowing him with one other flaw. His eventual downfall is caused by his lust. Instead of making Tartuffe into an inhuman monster, Molière shows how lust causes the clever hypocrite to lower his mask and reveal his hypocrisy.