The Alienated Hero in Modern French Drama

The Alienated Hero in Modern French Drama

The Alienated Hero in Modern French Drama

The Alienated Hero in Modern French Drama

Excerpt

The choice of plays to be used in this study was a difficult one. There are few plays in the contemporary French theatre in which the leading character does not feel himself spiritually alienated from his fellow man, and there are almost as many in which he proclaims and bewails it loudly. An exhaustive study of this problem could easily run into volumes, with each dramatist being allotted at least one chapter, and some of them having whole books devoted to them.

I have chosen five types of alienated hero to study. Three of my chapters deal primarily with one author each because most of his plays treat similar subjects. Thus in discussing the heroines of Giraudoux it is neccessary to discuss his work as a whole because it deals with people, especially women, with ever similar problems. A similar technique has been used with the plays of Anouilh and Sartre. The aristocratic exiles and the characters of the lower depths are discussed with reference to several authors, because none has devoted, with the exception of Lenormand, whose work is now quite dated, the major part of his dramatic output to the problems of either.

My choices of plays were governed primarily by the importance of the author, as judged by leading French critics of the period, and secondly by the theme of alienation as found in modern plays.

Most contemporary critics agree that Giraudoux is one of the great figures of the contemporary theatre, and many critics also invariably place Anouilh, Montherlant, and Sartre in the front rank. The influence of Lenormand on the theatre of the twenties is undeniable, and he represents the concerns of this decade perhaps better than any other dramatist. There is no unanimity of choice as great as that which we find . . .

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