A study of the theme "The refusal to accept reality as portrayed by female characters in Three Plays by Jean Anouilh

Melvin Andrew Thomas, Atlanta University

Abstract

Jean Anouilh's favorite theme, "the refusal to accept reality has been stated by most of his critics to be the dominant theme in his pieces noires. This thesis is an attempt to show that this theme of revolt is also dominant in some of his pieces roses and pieces brilliants. The writer points this out through critical analyses of three plays each representative of Anouilh's three groups of plays.

Definitions of the theme, "the refusal to accept reality" and how it reflects the personal ideas of a contemporary French playwright are also pointed out in this thesis.

There is an attempt to show how Anouilh has created female characters as main illustrators of the theme in question. The writer gives a critical analysis of each female character who illustrates the theme. Emphasis is placed on the author's development of these characters in relation to their portrayal of the theme.

It is also pointed out in this thesis that some minor themes are interwoven into the dominant theme of each play. It is through these minor themes that one recognizes the moralistic tendencies of Anouilh. These minor themes reflect the ideas of a moralist, a perfectionist, and an individual deeply concerned with man1 s conditions and destiny.

The chapter headings reveal the sequence of the contents%

I. Introduction or Background Information

II. Critical Analysis of Antigone, Le Bal Des Voleurs and L’Invitation au Chateau with Emphasis on the Development of the Theme

III. Analysis and Comparison of Female Characters through which the Theme is Illustrated

IV. The Relationship of the Principal Theme with Certain Minor Themes in the Three Plays