Themes and Meanings

(Survey of Dramatic Literature)

When ordinary distinctions between appearance and reality seem to founder on semantic confusion, and any dealings with others appear to be fraught with misunderstandings, basic problems of human relations seem cast in high relief. Each of the characters has a specific and distinctive point of view which seems grounded in certain presumptions that limit or indeed exclude any comprehension of different situations—even where the interpretation of ostensibly mundane facts is concerned. Bihana and Bahadir Efendi, in particular, do not carry on conversations so much as they engage in tangential discourses in which certain images or thoughts may coincide. When the same sounds or colors may call to mind the wife’s missing daughter or the husband’s tree, there will be a temporary conjunction of ideas which then will cause one or the other to embark on a fixed course.

As the extent to which their own preoccupations have affected relations with each other becomes clear, it may be observed as well that each has become devoted to some imagined or anthropomorphic being—whether a garden-dwelling lizard or a child who was never born—that has displaced the wife’s attentions toward the husband and the husband’s regard for the wife. In encounters of another sort, once the detective has become convinced that any disappearance means murder, his questions of the accused man seem to lead ineluctably to this conclusion, until the husband, to prevent any digging...

(The entire section is 584 words.)