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Published: 14-09-2019

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Examining Claire Zachanassian in Act One of The Visit

In Act 1 of The Pay a visit to, the character of Claire Zachanassian makes her initial look in Guellen, and it is also when we see the primary reason why she has come to Guellen: to “buy” justice for the injustice that was carried out to her several years ago by Alfred Ill. Dürrenmatt raises two main themes by way of his portrayal of Claire Zachanassian in Act One particular, especially these of dehumanization and no matter whether almost everything can bought.

At the begin of Act One, Claire Zachanassian, a millionaire, has just arrived in Guellen early simply because she pulled the Emergency Brake on the train. This act alone signifies her energy, as it shows that she does not comply with the rules that absolutely everyone lives by. The truth that she gets away with it proves that she is above everyone else the identical laws do not apply to her, and she is also in a position to alter the laws for everybody else. In Claire’s point of view, she was proper to pull the Emergency Brake, because undertaking so is much more hassle-free for her. (“Are you genuinely and really asking me to go puffing round this countryside for half an hour?”)

Her strange habit of providing nicknames to her staff and her husbands suggests that she is dehumanizing everyone else about her by putting them in a status far beneath her own. The way she presents her seventh husband is rather comical and almost as even though she’s presenting an animal or an object (“Isn’t he nice, with his small black mustache?” ), and the way she commands him rather reminds this member of the audience of a trainer commanding a dog (“Think it over, Moby…Harder…Harder nevertheless.” ) In the way that Dürrenmatt has Claire present her husband, we, as the audience, see that she is virtually like a goddess, since of her power over people and how she can modify the accepted social order. The Schoolmaster notices this, and states that, “I could suspect her of spinning destiny’s webs herself.” She is in a position to track down Louis Perch and Jacob Chicken “to the ends of the earth” and punish them for the injustice that they did to her, furthermore she has the capability to play with people’s lives, such as her saving the Manhattan gangsters’ lives, and later on, supplying one particular million for the death of Alfred Ill, also displaying that she can take away life as properly. She is also difficult to kill, since of how she has survived an automobile accident and was the only survivor of a plane crash, which assists reinforce the idea that she is above humans, like a goddess, particularly a Greek 1, as the ancient Greek goddesses were recognized for their cruel punishments.

Dürrenmatt appears to raise the situation of whether or not funds can acquire every thing, through his portrayal of Claire Zachanassian, and her careless way of handling income, shown when she told Boby, her butler, to spend the Ticket Inspector four thousand when he raised objections to her pulling the Emergency Brake. She appears to believe that funds can get almost everything, given that in the previous, she has bought things that are not buyable, such as the hiring of her butler, the former Chief Justice Courtly of Guellen, who explains to the town that the salary was 1 that he couldn’t refuse (“however, the salary involved was genuinely fairly fantastic…”) . Her petition of the two Manhattan gangsters, Roby and Toby, also additional explores the problems of whether or not cash can buy every thing, simply because employing her income, Claire Zachanassian was able to change the law itself, and managed to purchase the gangsters’ lives due to the fact she necessary two bodyguards.

Later on, we, as the audience, also see her provide a single million dollars to the Guelleners, not since she truly wishes to assist Guellen rise once more, but simply because she desires to get herself justice. Here, Claire Zachanassian still believes that every little thing can be purchased, as extended as there is sufficient money (“I can afford it. A million for Guellen if someone kills Alfred Ill”) , and her ominous reply to the Mayor’s dignified refusal of her offer you tells the audience that she is positive that she will get her way in the end. Dürrenmatt makes use of this to aid relay to the audience the energy of the theatre of the absurd, in that it is able to raise issues of the human nature. In The Pay a visit to, he seems to be criticizing the corrupting power of cash, since Claire Zachanassian is abusing the privilege of being wealthy, to demand the death of Alfred Ill.

An additional explanation for Claire Zachanassian’s presence in the first act is to produce a sense of foreboding and tension. Her queer whims, like bringing a coffin to Guellen, and her statement, “I may want it (the coffin)” early on in Act One particular can be observed as a warning that Dürrenmatt gives to the audience- anything sinister is about to occur later on. The continuous image of the coffin Her “jokes” also serve to warn the audience that she is organizing to do something quickly, anything that is unlawful and possibly involving the death of a person, since her “jokes” are all related to death, such as her question to the Gymnast, “Ever employed your muscles for strangling?” and her tips to the Policeman, “Start understanding to wink them (eyes) each,” an indication that crimes are soon to be committed and that the Policeman is expected to let them to occur.

The audience is also forewarned by the scene in Konrad’s Village Wood, where Claire Zachanassian and Alfred Ill are talking, and Claire, in reply to Ill, says that she has “grown into hell itself”. This statement is perhaps Claire reflecting on the things that have occurred to her, and how they have changed her, though it is unclear what occurred to her till Claire offers the 1 million for Ill’s death. Act 1 builds on the tension and it reaches the climax when Claire Zachanassian delivers the 1 million, but with the 1 situation of Ill’s death.

It is only then that we see how Ill’s betrayal of Claire had forced her into prostitution, and made Claire the particular person that she is. Dürrenmatt evokes sympathy for Claire because of the previous injustice that she has suffered, and it is effortless to emphasize with Claire about her a single condition. Nonetheless, Dürrenmatt also manages, at the identical time, to evoke feeling of horror for Claire Zachanassian’s sense of “justice”, as it requires the death of Alfred Ill. The audience is place into a challenging dilemma: should they actually blame Claire Zachanassian for wanting revenge, even if it entails murder, after all that Ill had place her through?

At the end of the play, we see that the townspeople has offered in to temptation, by way of a series of modifications from sticking to Ill, to considering that the Claire Zachanassian’s provide is also good to refuse, and that Ill was the cause of Guellen’s poverty. The theatre of absurd is particularly powerful, since it magnifies a single flaw of the human nature. The Guelleners are regular people, neither good nor negative, but weak, and due to the fact of their thoughtless irresponsibility, give in to Claire Zachanassian’s offer.

It is also essential to note the influences from which Dürrenmatt drew his ideas for The Go to he modeled it soon after the Greek tragedy, Medea, with the intention of portraying a vengeful and sorrowful lady who has been betrayed by her lover. In Act A single, the audience can see similarities among The Check out and Medea. In both circumstances, the girls possess the energy to punish her unfaithful lover, and both of the plays force the audience to feel about how they, themselves, would have reacted if they had been in the very same scenario.

To conclude, Dürrenmatt makes use of the character of Claire Zachanassian to introduce to the audience difficult tips, like the problem of no matter whether or not every little thing can be purchased, and the method of dehumanization in relationships which are unequal, because 1 celebration has wealth. He uses her presence in Act A single to develop up tension all the way to the end of the act, by way of his usage of suggestive language, and the visually/imaginatively suggestive use of a coffin, all of which provokes the audience to put ourselves into the very same scenario. It is Dürrenmatt’s skill to have made a play which tends to make us, as the audience laugh, but 1 that also disturbs us deeply. The inquiries it asks and raises are not pleasant ones to have to face.
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