Its impoverished citizens nevertheless hold out hope for their township—hope that Ms. Ill is the first to welcome the billionairess, bringing the two face-to-face for the first time in forty-five years. Ill showers Claire with compliments, hoping to loosen her purse strings with appeals to her vanity, but this fails. Claire bluntly states that she and Ill are old and fat now, and she proceeds to show him her many prosthetic limbs. She also takes a moment to introduce her Butler, Boby; her henchmen, Roby and Toby; her seventh husband, Moby; and the blind eunuchs Koby and Loby.
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We are all collectively guilty Comedy alone gets at our problems. These different threads would meet in the young playwright and thinker. In , he began serious study at universities in Zurich and Bern, burying himself in literature and philosophy. In his writing, he took justice as his tool, always taking it to its logical extreme.
He thought that writers must look at life with a harsh, merciless clarity. He was always working and reworking his writing, even years after writing it. He called this "reeducating" his work. The story of the play revolves around a grotesque battle between a sensation-craving cynic and a religious fanatic who takes Scripture literally, all while the city they live in is under siege.
The idea behind the play is one he continued to use in his future work: taking an idea to its logical, usually awful, final extreme. By taking "the last shall be first and the first shall be last" literally and trying to create heaven on earth, the city dooms itself. In As It Is Written, we also see a theme he uses again in The Visit: the Church showing its weakness when confronted with a true moral question.
As he said, "I am a Protestant. I protest. He included many sensational effects, scene changes, and written "titles" flashed before each scene. In his later plays, he would put more trust in his words. Still, As It Is Written shows suggestions of the power to come. His first major success was the play Romulus The Great. Set in the year A.
In the play, Romulus hates Rome. The Empire is shown to be totally degraded and corrupt; the first scene shows the court of Rome like a barnyard with chickens flying about.
Romulus is the only one who can see the real state of the world. As one character says, "An organization as immense as the Roman Empire simply cannot totally collapse. In this, we see the breakdown of order - the chaos that lies just below the surface of our everyday lives. His serene sense of justice gives Romulus his heroism. We see this self-knowledge in Alfred lll in The Visit. It was such a success that productions sprang up in England and America over the next two years.
Durrenmatt called this story "A Tragic Comedy. The play really has three major characters: the old lady, Claire Zachanassian; her former lover and object of her ruthless justice, Alfred lll; and the people of the town of Gullen, who make up a kind of composite representation of society itself.
Through these characters, Durrenmatt is able to give the audience a darkly comic, breathless, and in the end, unanswerable debate about the nature of justice, redemption and community. Claire is a hodgepodge of patched-together artificial limbs, held together only by her hate. Since her betrayal at the hands of lll and the people of Gullen, she has spent her life in a single-minded vengeance.
Her justice is god-like. Across all of Europe, she pursues the two men who lied about her in court like a fury; they are castrated and made her slaves. Durrenmatt compares her to an ancient idol. She is like the statue of Justice - eternal, something out of myth. Amazingly, we find ourselves cheering her on; as the play begins, she is the only character who speaks the unadorned truth.
In The Visit, characters use language to hide their real intentions. As Durrenmatt writes, "Today man lives in a world which he knows less than we assume.
He has lost his image and has become a victim of images. Although Durrenmatt decried symbolism "Misunderstandings creep in, because people desperately search the hen yard of my drama for the egg of explanation which I steadfastly refuse to lay. The question of how a man can hold on to his ideals in the face of grinding poverty was still a strong one.
Many saw Claire Zachanassian as a symbol of that desperate fear, but Durrenmatt was steadfast: "Claire Zachanassian represents neither justice nor the Marshall Plan, nor the apocalypse; let her be just that which she is, namely the richest woman in the world who is enabled by her money to act like the heroine of a Greek tragedy, absolutely, cruelly, perhaps like Medea The temptation is too great, the poverty is too bitter.
The Visit is a malicious play, but just for that reason, it must be presented without anger and in the most humane way, with sadness yet with humor, for nothing hurts this comedy that ends tragically than brutal seriousness.
When the people of Gullen begin to buy expensive items on credit, lll panics, and goes for help to his Family, the Government the Mayor , the Law the police chief and the Church the minister. He is rebuffed at every turn. Even the teacher, representing Intellectualism, sees what is happening but is too weak to fight it. With no where to turn, lll takes responsibility for his crime. He achieves the serenity and acceptance that Durrenmatt saw as the pinnacle of human heroism.
He gains stature in our eyes through this transformation. In The Visit, lll is the only character who changes and grows. Claire is sterile in everything but her need for revenge; the people of Gullen do nothing but reveal their true, rotten selves. Only lll has the epiphany of self-knowledge that Durrenmatt prized so highly. As Peppard writes, "In the closing scene, the townspeople appear as much slaves as they did at the beginning; if at first they were victims of poverty, they are now the captives of prosperity.
Only lll has found freedom, and he has attained it only by a withdrawal from the community into death. When The Visit was written, the world was on the brink of disaster, and every town was a Gullen. He wrote that in the 20th century because "we no longer find tragic heroes, but only tragedies staged by world butchers and carried out by meat-grinding machines All Rights Reserved.
The Visit - Friedrich Durrenmatt.pdf
The family moved to Bern in In , he decided to become an author and dramatist and dropped his academic career. In —46, he wrote his first play It Is Written. On 11 October , he married the actress Lotti Geissler.
In exchange, she will provide enough money to revitalize the decrepit town. The townspeople eventually agree. After settling into the hotel, Claire joins the rest of the town, who have gathered outside for a homecoming celebration. Claire takes the opportunity to announce that she will make a huge donation: one billion presumably Swiss francs , half for the town and half to be shared among the families.