Yet Jacques Truchet (10) points to an interesting aspect of the character of Damis: he is not the traditional poet of comedy, a purely ridiculous figure, but has more noble characteristics; Piron too describes him as 'bon, franc, genereux, brave & desinteresse' and 'leste, gai, doux, sociable & galant' (pp.
Perhaps the most obvious lies in Damis's change of name to M.
Damis's choice of de L'Empiree, of course, simply adds to both the comedy and the satire by giving the sense of a ridiculously inflated ego, something of which Piron was not the only one to accuse Voltaire.
We may point to Damis's supreme confidence in his own abilities, (13) certainly a quality Piron would criticize in Voltaire, and he makes it seem all the more misplaced when the play in which Damis has so much faith flops, but, no matter how malicious a satirist Piron is, such a failure is rather more difficult to link with an author as successful as Voltaire, and we shall later see that this aspect of the character may have an alternative derivation.
Being modelled in this respect on Desforges-Maillard, Francaleu is even further than Damis from being a biographical portrait of Voltaire.
Another nice joke relating to theatrical convention is Damis's comment when Francaleu tells him that he will not be able to go ahead with the performance of his play, the play that turns out to be the comedy L'Indolente: 'Certes les trois sujets etaient bons; c'est dommage.' For the traditionalist, who believes in the unity of action, this, like the tragedy in six acts, suggests something that does not respect the limits of effective composition, something overloaded, and the effect is again comic, but it is much harder to relate the criticism to any specific contemporary author, and there certainly seems to be no reason for seeing it as being aimed at Voltaire.
So we can see in Damis not only a depiction of Voltaire in his role in the affair of Mlle Malcrais de La Vigne, but also of Piron himself in his youth.
The audience may expect that Elmire's skillful pragmatic diplomacy will send the scoundrel Tartuffe packing, but Damis' dichotomous either-or thinking spoils the practical solution: Damis: No!
Damis's hotheaded temper sets off a chain of polar reactions.
In the aberrant behaviors in all three of the victims -- Orgon, Damis, and Mariane -- we find dichotomous either-or thinking that leads them to jump to opposite extremes.