How do the characters in Rhinoceros conform with the mob? What techniques and characterisation are involved in this conformation?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the most simplistic of senses, the people of the mob conform because they become savages.  In becoming the mob, all of the people who become rhinoceroses demonstrate savage behavior.  They lose any sight of delicacy or nuances.  Their hostility towards humans is almost a threat in its own right that either they join the movement of rhinos or face the consequence.  In trying to enforce their will, the rhinos barrel through the town, running over and through anyone in their path.  Additionally, all of the rhinos represent the same mass.  They all act alike, causing destruction around the town and represent the force of homogeneous collectivity.  Once the townspeople become rhinos, they act as one another, en masse.  Individuality, like Berenger's, is repudiated in favor of this mob and this group.  Their voices are not intelligible, and their appearance is not really distinguishable from one another.  This conformity makes Berenger's hold out all the more admirable, albeit one that is steeped in failure.  The implications are fairly clear in that while Berenger will probably fail, there is a great deal of honor and respect that the audience has for maintaining his individuality in the name of conformity.  Despite his vacillation in position, wishing and yearning to join the movement and then rejecting it, either by necessity or resurgent courage, the audience ends up identifying with Berenger.  We have to.  Ionesco leaves us few other options.  I mean, the mob is not going to be an option if it can be helped for audience identification.

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Rhinoceros

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