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The Visit
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The Visit


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  • 1. 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
  • 2. 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.”
  • 3. 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
  • 4. Setting 1956 “The Present” Referring back to their youth – 45 years ago (1910) Small town in Switzerland in the shadow of the bigtransit axes.
  • 5. 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”
  • 6. 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
  • 7. 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
  • 8. 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
  • 9. 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
  • 10. 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
  • 11. 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
  • 12. Central ConflictBuying justice vs humanity
  • 13. Secondary Conflicts Greed vs humanism Social loafing Allegory of Ill missing the train (character vs self,character vs society)
  • 14. Character Analysis - Main Claire Zachanassian- Background- Personality- Character development
  • 15. Character Analysis - Main Alfred Ill- Background- Personality- Character development
  • 16. Character Analysis -Supporting Mayor Priest Policeman Schoolmaster Doctor Mrs Ill. (Matilda) Koby and Loby Butler
  • 17. 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
  • 18. 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
  • 19. Themes – Dehumanizing Claire´s prosthetic arm and leg “I´m unkillable.” Rhyming nicknames Humanism vs wealth and power
  • 20. Themes - Selfishness Ill’s marriage to Matilda Claire’s satisfaction Actions of the citizens Actions of the family
  • 21. Themes - Economics Claire controls all major organizations
  • 22. Themes – Revenge as Justice Ill´s actions forced Claire into prostitution Vengeful Claire corners Ill, resulting in his death Tracking down the false witnesses
  • 23. 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
  • 24. Themes - Sight Seeing the growing prosperity Seeing the future wealth Ill seeing the possibility of his own death
  • 25. 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.)
  • 26. Symbols Petersen´s Barn and Konrad´s Village Wood Black Panther Death of Black Panther
  • 27. 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.”
  • 28. Comic Elements In Moscow, it was perceived as a satire on capitalism Rhyming nicknames Repeating sentences in unison
  • 29. Epic Theatre Elements Usage of music/song to fragment scenes (exampleon page 217) Open scene changes (example on page 215)
  • 30. Conclusion Poverty against power, wealth and greed Wealth indeed can purchase desires Claire`s love for Ill
  • 31. 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?