Abstract

Eugène Ionesco's plays are often thought of only as absurd. This thesis explores another possible interpretation of his plays, including Rhinocèros, Le Roi se meurt, Jeux de massacre, Les Chaises, Victimes du devoir, La Jeune fille à marier, and La Leçon. These plays are investigated with the help of anthropologist René Girard's theory on ritual, violence, and sacrifice. Since these elements are recurring themes in Ionesco's plays, Girard's theory is a useful key to unlocking what may seem at times to be nothing but nonsense, but is full of meaning. In the first chapter, the rituals and repetitions that abound in Ionesco's plays are discussed in the light of Girardian theory, illustrating the negative effects of ritual without substance. Chapter two analyses the violent and sacrificial nature of these plays, and their contagious qualities. The third chapter discusses where redemption can be found amidst the violence. This thesis also debates the possible Christian aspects within Ionesco's works relating to the themes of ritual, violence, and redemption.

Degree

MA

College and Department

Humanities; French and Italian

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2005-07-11

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd922

Keywords

Ionesco, anthropology, Girard, ritual, violence, sacrifice, redemption, mimesis

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