Reflecting Realities In Genet's Theatre Essay

1395 words - 6 pages

The Reflecting Realities in Genet's Theatre (The Balcony)Jean Genet was a French playwright, novelist etc but he is still most widely remembered as a homosexual thief. He lived the life of a social outcast and it reflects greatly in his plays and other works of art. Perhaps this position of an outcast only allowed him to look at the established order so differently that he could force his audiences to question their social standing and society as a whole.The image of a man stuck in a maze of reflecting mirrors could easily be taken as a representation of Genet's plays. His plays are concerned with expressing his own feeling of helplessness and solitude when confronted with the despair and loneliness of a man caught in the hall of mirrors of the human condition, unalterably trapped by an endless progression of images that are merely his own distorted reflections.Genet's theatre can be seen as a Dance of Death. Contrary to the Omni-presence of Death in Ionesco's theatre, in the sense that fear of extinction always prevails in almost all his plays (Rhinoceros can be read in this light), in Genet's theatre the world exists only as a nostalgic memory of life in a sphere of dream and fantasy. Sarte observes that "Genet is a dead men; if he still seems to live, he does so only in that larval existence that certain people ascribe to the dead in their tombs. All his heroes have died at least once in their life."Genet plays with mirrors as a device in which each apparent reality is revealed as an appearance, an illusion, which in turn reveals itself as a part of a dream or an illusion and this uncovering of realities go on till infinity. These reflective realities uncover the fundamental absurdity of being, its nothingness.The focal point from which we witness the world, made up of deceptive appearances, but always reducible to an ultimate reality, is itself shown as a mere reflection in Genet's theatre, and the whole structure collapses.The BalconyThe Judge: Exactly, my child: and get beaten. You must first deny, then admit and repent. I want to see hot tears gush from your lovely eyes. Oh! I want to be drenched in them. The power of tears... Where's my statue book?....The Judge: What's that? What's that you say? You'd refuse? Tell me where. And tell me what you've stolenThe Thief (curtly and getting up): I won't.The Judge: Tell me where. Don't be cruel.The Thief: Your tone is getting familiar. I won't have it!The Judge: Miss.... Madame. I beg of you (he falls to his knees.) Look, I beseech you. Don't leave me in this position, waiting to be a judge. If there were no judge what would become of us, but what if there were no thieves?(Scene two)These lines from the play 'The Balcony' can be read in the light of the above mentioned argument. The image of a judge and the thief is reflected in the mirrors of reality to the extent of making their very existence absurd.The role of a judge can be played only in the presence of a thief. Genet makes the audience...

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