Themes and Meanings

(Comprehensive Guide to Drama)

The thematic focus of Break of Noon is the quest to understand the nature of love and, through that understanding, the nature of God. The actions of the two central characters, Yse and Mesa, revolve around this one central theme, with each act providing a different perspective.

In act 1, both Yse and Mesa are caught in a web of self-love. In the purity of the blinding, white light, they are at the “noon” of their lives. Yse yearns to “die in the arms of the one who loves you,” to be protected and cared for. That, for her, is love. Mesa, on the other hand, seeks to be alone; he has attempted to devote his life to God, although that desire was thwarted. A woman asks too much, and he is unwilling and unable to give of his inner self. In spite of their mutual attraction, they recognize the impossibility of their love. In a repeated litany, Mesa disavows his love—“Yse, I will not love you”—but with those same words he affirms his connection to her.

Act 2 reveals Mesa as willing to substitute passion for love. He recognizes that this passion is not the happiness he sought, but he is willing to settle for it. The longing that he has experienced toward God is now channeled toward Yse. She is the present, the human condition, and he submits fully to her. Yse, too, recognizes their love in its strengths and its limitations. She knows that she brings Mesa not happiness but death, but it is worth it “provided that . . . I may...

(The entire section is 527 words.)