How to describe the characterization of Zapo's parents and their role in the play?i would like to know if there is any contrast in the the two characters, i.e. in monsieur tepan and madame tepan.

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The characters of Monsieur and Madame Tepan in Fernando Arrabal's play Picnic on the Battlefieldare meant to represent an everyday couple who are both loving to their son, and are good, law-abiding citizens. They are your everyday citizens: Monsieur Tepan is a former war hero, decorated and quite proud of his work during war. He is a strong believer in the power of the military and admires both Zapo and Zepo for their service.

Madame Tepan is sophisticated, eloquent, and seems to be socially aware of the world around her. She has good manners to the point of showing concern for "not being dead" and disappointing the corps men. She is overpowering, and does not seem to realize that her son is a grown men. We know this because of her insistence on checking his teeth to see how they are doing.

However the differences, the fact remains that both the Tepans have one quality in common: They are oblivious to everything and live in oblivion as well. They are an example of a society that accepts what is placed upon them with no questions asks, as well as a society that pretends that things are perfectly OK while the world is falling apart around them. This lack of awareness is more like a social irresponsibility to be in tandem with what the government and society are really doing to the average citizen. This is the central message that Arrabal tries to bring with the Tepan marriage.

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