The Physicists is a satiric play written by the Swiss author Friedrich Dürrenmatt about three physicists who are living in the private sanatorium " Les Cerisiers " headed by the last living member of an old regional aristocratic family, Miss Dr. h.c. Dr. med. Mathilde Von Zahnd. The first one thinks he is Sir Isaac Newton, but he is in reality Herbert Georg Beutler, the second one thinks he is Albert Einstein and his real name is Ernst Heinrich Ernesti. The third physicist, Johann Wilhelm Möbius is different, he has got no second identity but he is in this sanatorium because King Solomon speaks to him.
We enter the play when many men are in the saloon. It is the place of a tragedy as Mr Ernesti has strangled a nurse. Mr. Beutler has also killed a nurse a couple of months ago. The inspector is slightly annoyed because he has to visit Les Cerisiers the second time during a short period of time and because he can’t speak to or take away the murderer . He is also expressing the wish of the public prosecutor that the sanatorium has to be taken over by male nurses because of the two murders by the two physicists.
During the course of the play the personal and physical change is perceptible. Both the main characters and the environment are changing. For an example in act two, Herbert Georg Beutler alias Sir Isaac Newton turns out to be a long lost world famous physicist
Alex Jasper Kilton who discovered the "Theory of Equivalents" also Albert Einstein alias Ernst Heinrich Ernesti is the also long lost discoverer of the "Eislereffect" Joseph Eisler. The most noticeable changes are that there are male nurses and the iron bars in front of the windows.
There are many characteristic changes in this incalculable and satiric play. First of all the inspector is annoyed and impatient because he can’t see or take away the - as everybody knows guilty - murderers to put them to justice or he can’t even question these criminals. After the death of nurse Monika Stettler caused by the " so-called" harmless physicist Johann Wilhelm Möbius the inspector changes rapidly " At first I felt angry at not being able to proceed with the arrests." Then the change occurs "But now ? All at once I’m enjoying myself." " The first time in my life justice is on holiday- and it’s a terrific...