Friedrich Dürrenmatt Born 05.01.1921 in Konolfingen(near Bern) Son of a Pastor Lived in Bern, Basel, Ligerz andfinally for 38 years in Neuchatel Studied Literature , Philosophyand Natural Science 1946: 1st marriage: Lotti Geisseler 1984: 2nd marriage: Charlotte Kerr
Friedrich Dürrenmatt Well known for his sociability andjoie de vivre From a Letter to his father: „Es handelt sich nicht darum zuentscheiden, ob ich einausübender Künstler werde odernicht, denn da wird nichtentschieden, sondern das wirdman aus Notwendigkeit. [...] DasProblem liegt ja bei mir ganzanders. Soll ich malen oderschreiben. Es drängt mich zubeidem.”
Production History First played on 29. Juanuary 1956 in Zürich(Schauschpielhaus) Breakthrough play Directed by Oskar Wälterlin Therese Ghiese played Claire Gustav Knuth played Ill
Setting 1956 “The Present” Referring back to their youth – 45 years ago (1910) Small town in Switzerland in the shadow of the bigtransit axes.
Act One - Summary Opens at the railway station of Güllen 4 popular men in town Arrival of Claire The revelation of the Butler, Koby and Loby Claire´s offer and condition Rejection of the offer “ I’ll wait”
Act One - Analysis View of the town – Güllen Claire´s past and present The past of Claire and Ill Breaking the rules Buying justice and “seeing” The offer
Act Two - Summary Opens with the balcony of the Golden Apostle and Ill´sstore Children of Ill seeking employment Citizens purchasing more expensive items and on credit Claire´s indulgence Ill´s fear and gradual realization of his (soon-to-be) death Policeman, Mayor, Priest Death of black panther Ill´s powerless attempt to flee
Act Two - Analysis Dürrenmatt´s dark interpretation of Romeo and Juliet, destroying theidealistic love Poverty weakens idealism Anticipation of Claire´s gift Claire´s confidence and arrogance Law, Government, Church Fate of Ill Knowledge of Claire´s depth of power Unwillingness to give up the taste of wealth Redemption and freedom lies in forgiveness
Act Three - Summary Opens in Petersen’s Barn, bargaining with Claire Press has arrived at Guellen Schoolmaster tried to tell the press the town’s secret Mayor brought a gun to Ill ILL and his family goes for a ride ILL and Claire recall the past in the Village Wood Decision to accept/ reject Claire’s offer by voting People kill Ill Receive check from Claire Claire takes Ill’s body and leave
Act Three - Analysis Psychological evolution of Guellen people The dark side of Claire’s absurd character Power of money Cover the truth Ill’s sudden change of heart about his life Claire’s inner psychological working No individual is willing to take responsibility Poverty is the cause of moral evil
Plot ShapeExposition –Poverty aplentyRising Action – Arrivalof Claire and the hopesof the peopleFalling Action – Bargainingwith Claire, Ill enjoyingwhat is left of his timeResolution – Ill´sdeath and the rise ofprosperityClimax – Ill missing the trainRealization of fateClimax – Claire´s conditionDaily activities,Ill´s confidenceAct 1 Act 2 Act 3
Secondary Conflicts Greed vs humanism Social loafing Allegory of Ill missing the train (character vs self,character vs society)
Character Analysis - Main Claire Zachanassian- Background- Personality- Character development
Character Analysis - Main Alfred Ill- Background- Personality- Character development
Character Analysis -Supporting Mayor Priest Policeman Schoolmaster Doctor Mrs Ill. (Matilda) Koby and Loby Butler
Themes - Buying Justice A pint of brandy £ 1 000 000 per petition Lord Chief Justice becomes Butler £ 1 000 000 for Alfred Ill´s life
Themes – Forgiveness Claire forgave the two gangsters who became hersedan-bearer but unable to forgive Ill Citizens, Mrs. Ill, their son and daughter unwilling toforgive Ill Ill forgave himself by recognizing his own guilt
Themes – Dehumanizing Claire´s prosthetic arm and leg “I´m unkillable.” Rhyming nicknames Humanism vs wealth and power
Themes - Selfishness Ill’s marriage to Matilda Claire’s satisfaction Actions of the citizens Actions of the family
Themes - Economics Claire controls all major organizations
Themes – Revenge as Justice Ill´s actions forced Claire into prostitution Vengeful Claire corners Ill, resulting in his death Tracking down the false witnesses
Themes - Prostitution Money satisfies sexual desires Money bought her elderly husband a young,beautiful wife “The world turned me into a whore. I shall turn theworld into a brothel” Wealth purchases all desires
Themes - Sight Seeing the growing prosperity Seeing the future wealth Ill seeing the possibility of his own death
Subtle Arrangements “Start learning to wink them both” “Do you comfort the dying? … … People who´ve been condemned to death aswell?” “The death sentence has been abolished in this country, Madam.” “It may bereintroduced.” “Yes, I brought a coffin with me. I may need it.” “Interesting. Do you make out Death Certificates?” “Next time, diagnose heart attack.” “Marvelous muscles. Ever used your strength for strangling?” (Roby and Toby, chewing gum, enter, left, bearing wreaths and flowers as at afuneral, cross stage and enter, back, the hotel.) (Roby and Toby enter, left, with more wreaths and flowers. Cross the stage anddisappear into the Golden Apostle.)
Symbols Petersen´s Barn and Konrad´s Village Wood Black Panther Death of Black Panther
Consumer Goods - Men “That blond bass out there on the left, with the bigAdam´s apple, he was really most singular.” “I love men in shorts and vests” Mercilessly divorcing Moby for a German film starand constantly changing husbands. “You only have husbands for display purposes, theyshouldn´t be useful.”
Comic Elements In Moscow, it was perceived as a satire on capitalism Rhyming nicknames Repeating sentences in unison
Epic Theatre Elements Usage of music/song to fragment scenes (exampleon page 217) Open scene changes (example on page 215)
Conclusion Poverty against power, wealth and greed Wealth indeed can purchase desires Claire`s love for Ill
Discussion Questions1. What does Claire represent?2. Can money buy everything? What is the possibilityof buying justice in present time?3. What are the personal struggles or conflicts facedby Ill?4. Does killing Ill heal Claire´s heart?
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