Act I[ edit ] The play starts in the town square of a small provincial French village. This generates enormous outrage and people begin to band together to argue that the presence of these rhinos should not be allowed. The beginning of a mass movement is seen on stage. At the office, an argument has broken out between the sensitive and logical Dudard and the violent, temperamental Botard, who does not believe a rhinoceros could actually appear in France despite all the claims by eyewitnesses. Suddenly, Mrs.
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Act I[ edit ] The play starts in the town square of a small provincial French village. This generates enormous outrage and people begin to band together to argue that the presence of these rhinos should not be allowed.
The beginning of a mass movement is seen on stage. At the office, an argument has broken out between the sensitive and logical Dudard and the violent, temperamental Botard, who does not believe a rhinoceros could actually appear in France despite all the claims by eyewitnesses.
Suddenly, Mrs. Botard argues against the existence of the so-called "rhinoceritis" movement, saying that the local people are too intelligent to be tricked by the empty rhetorics of a mass movement. A rhinoceros arrives and destroys the staircase that leads out of the office, trapping all the workers and their boss, Mr. Papillion, inside. Despite being advised against it she joins her husband by jumping down the stairwell onto her husbands back off stage.
Daisy has called the firemen and one by one the office-workers escape through a window out the office. The two friends begin to argue again, first about the possibility of people actually turning into rhinos and then about the morality of the transformations. Jean is initially staunchly against the rhinos, but gradually grows lenient.
He wakes up and is worried about his head, cough and the noises outside. After much contemplation he has a sip of brandy and goes back to bed.
Papillon turning into a rhino and the Logician. Daisy reveals that Botard is now also a rhinoceros. Daisy and Dudard iterate that acclimating oneself to the rhinos is the best solution, but Berenger resists. They start to have lunch, but are interrupted by a crumbling wall outside.
The fire station has been sacked, and the firemen have turned into rhinos. Dudard leaves; he wants to experience the epidemic first-hand. Berenger tries to stop him, but Daisy lets him go. Dudard soon turns into a rhino outside. The sights and sounds of the rhinos become more beautiful despite their savagery. She pours some brandy for Berenger and removes his bandage—still no signs of a transformation. Berenger claims he will defend her.
He blames himself and Daisy for contributing, through lack of sympathy, to the transformations of Jean and Papillon, respectively. Daisy convinces him to shrug off the guilt. The phone rings, but they hear only rhino trumpeting on the line. They turn to the radio for help, but the rhinos have taken that over, as well. They attempt, albeit briefly, to have a normal life amongst the rhinoceroses.
She comes to believe the rhinoceroses are in the right they are truly passionate. Alone, he finds himself in the wrong and attempts to change into a rhinoceros. He struggles and fails. He returns to the mirror, face-to-face with his fate and breaks down as he struggles to accept the place he has given himself. Suddenly, he snaps out of it and renews his vow to take on the rhinos. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed.
Ionesco was born in Romania to a Romanian father and French mother. In the increasing antisemitic atmosphere of Romania in the interwar period, being even partly ethnically Jewish was enough to put Ionesco in danger.
The Israeli historian Jean Ancel states that the Romanian intelligentsia had a "schizophrenic attitude towards the West and its values," yet considered the West, especially France, to be their role model. At the same time antisemitism was rampant in Romania.
Most Romanian Jews were descendants of Ashkenazi Jews who had moved to Romania in the 18th and 19th centuries from Poland. A recurring claim of the Romanian radical right was that most Romanian Jews were illegal immigrants or had obtained Romanian citizenship fraudulently.
Cuza claiming the Jews were a foreign and alien body in Romania that needed to be removed. In interwar Romania, the most virulent and violent antisemitic movement was the fascist Iron Guard founded in by Corneliu Zelea Codreanu. As a university student, Ionesco saw one of his professors, Nae Ionescu , who taught philosophy at the University of Bucharest, use his lectures to recruit his students into the Legion.
We were fifteen people who used to get together, to find arguments, to discuss, to try to find arguments opposing theirs. It was not easy Three weeks later, that person would become a Nazi. He was caught in a mechanism, he accepted everything, he became a Rhinoceros. Towards the end, it was only three or four of us who resisted. Romania had a very large intelligentsia relative to its share of the population with 2. In interwar Romania, Jews played much the same role as Greeks and Armenians did in the Ottoman Empire and the ethnic Chinese minorities do in modern Malaysia and Indonesia, namely a commercially successful minority much resented for their success.
Ionesco felt that the way in which so many of his generation, especially university students, had abandoned the French ideas about universal human rights in favor of the death cult of the Legion, was a "betrayal" both personally and in a wider political sense of the sort of society Romania should be. And of the second hand left, which had been a radical socialist Maybe I should had belonged to the left for a while, maybe I should have been of the left before being-not of the right-of the non-left, an enemy of the left.
In the first act, the character of the logician says: "I am going to explain to you what a syllogism is The syllogism consists of a main proposition, a secondary one and a conclusion". The logician gives the example of: "The cat has four paws. Isidore and Fricot have four paws. Therefore, Isidore and Fricot are cats".
Based on this way of thinking as taught by the logician, the character of the old man is able to conclude that his dog is in fact a cat, leading him to proclaim: "Logic is a very beautiful thing", to which the logician replies as "As long as it is not absurd". It is at this moment that the first rhinoceros appears. After Cioran joined the Legion in , he severed his friendship with Ionesco, an experience that very much hurt the latter.
The character of the logician with his obsession with syllogisms and a world of pure reason divorced from emotion is a caricature of Cioran, a man who claimed that "logic" demanded that Romania have no Jews. Regardless of whether the rhinoceros are African or Asian, the French characters comfortably assume their superiority to the rhinoceros; ironically the same people all become rhinoceroses themselves.
You are an Asiatic Mongol! Ionesco intended the character of Jean, an ambitious functionary whose careerism robs him of the ability to think critically, to be a satirical portrayal of the French civil servants who served the Vichy government. At various points in the play, Jean shouts out such lines as "We need to go beyond moral standards!
Morality against Nature! Notably, the more Jean rants about "natural laws" trumping all, the more he transforms into a rhinoceros. The reference to "Turanian barbarians" was to both the Turks and the Magyars who both "Turanian" peoples from Asia. Ionesco satirized French Communist intellectuals with the character of Botard, who is clearly the most left-wing character in the play. Botard professes himself to be the champion of progressive values, saying about the debate in regards to the debate over the superiority of African vs.
Asian rhinoceros that: "The color bar is something I feel strongly about, I hate it! But at the same time, Botard shows himself to be rigid, small-minded and petty in his thinking, using Marxist slogans in place of intelligent thought.
Most notably, Botard is unable to accept the fact of rhinoceritis despite overwhelming evidence of its existence. For an example, Botard dismisses rhinoceritis as: "An example of collective psychosis, Mr.
Just like religion-the opiate of the people! Despite seeing the rhinoceroses with his own eyes, Botard convinces himself that rhinoceritis is all a gigantic capitalist plot, dismissing rhinoceritis as an "infamous plot" and "propaganda".
A further attack on Communism was provided by the character of the pipe-smoking intellectual Dudard. Ionesco stated in an interview that: "Dudard is Sartre". The green skin of the rhinoceros recalled not only the green uniforms of the Iron Guard, but also the green uniforms of the Ordnungspolizei who enforced German power in France during the occupation. During the Occupation, the French applied nicknames to the Germans that often used the word vert, calling the Germans haricots verts green beans , sauterelles verts green locusts , and race verte green race.
In France during the occupation, the color green was indelibly associated with the Germans. The experience of the Occupation was a deeply psychologically disorienting one for the French as what was once familiar and safe become strange and threatening. The scenes look not just unreal, but almost deliberately surreal, as if the unexpected conjunction of German and French, French and German, was the result of a Dada prank and not the sober record of history. This shock is merely a distant echo of what the French underwent in seeing a familiar landscape transformed by the addition of the unfamiliar, living among everyday sights suddenly made bizarre, no longer feeling at home in places they had known all their lives.
Many historians argued that such activities like writing for an underground newspaper, sheltering Jews and Allied servicemen, providing intelligence to the Allies or sabotaging the railroads and factories counts as resistance.
In Rhinoceros, the characters are shocked and horrified that people are turning into brutal rhinoceros, but during the course of the play learn to accept what is happening, as just the French people were shocked by their defeat in , but many learned to accept their place in the "New Order" in Europe. Or rather I was. Now I am getting used to it".
If you leave them alone, they just ignore you. We could organize debates with professors and writers and lawyers, blue-stockings and artists and people and ordinary men in the street as well-it would be very interesting and instructive.
Humanity is besieged by certain diseases, physiologically and organically, but the spirit too is periodically besieged by certain diseases. You discovered a disease of the 20th century, which could be called after my famous play, rhinoceritis. For a while, one can say that a man is rhinocerised by stupidity or baseness. But there are people—honest and intelligent—who in their turn may suffer the unexpected onset of this disease, even the dear and close ones may suffer It happened to my friends.
El rinoceronte (Eugène Ionesco)
Many sources cite his birthdate as , this error being due to vanity on the part of Ionesco himself, who wanted the year of his birth to coincide with that when his idol, Romanian playwright Caragiale , died. As Deborah B. When he "floated" back to the ground and the "light" left him, he saw that the real world in comparison was full of decay, corruption and meaningless repetitive action. This also coincided with the revelation that death takes everyone in the end. He returned to Romania with his father and mother in after his parents divorced. There he attended Saint Sava National College , after which he studied French Literature at the University of Bucharest from to and qualified as a teacher of French.
CENTRO DRAMÁTICO NACIONAL