How does Helena's social position influence her status as a static or dynamic character in R.U.R.?

In R.U.R., the human character Helena Glory is static, despite (or perhaps because of) her high status and reforming zeal. However, Robot Helena develops human emotions, showing that she is dynamic.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The idea of how someone's social position influences their status as a static or dynamic character uncovers a paradox. A character with a high social position, like Helena Glory's in R.U.R. , is generally in a good position to change society, as Helena tries to do. These people are...

See
This Answer Now

Start your subscription to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your Subscription

The idea of how someone's social position influences their status as a static or dynamic character uncovers a paradox. A character with a high social position, like Helena Glory's in R.U.R., is generally in a good position to change society, as Helena tries to do. These people are often described as being dynamic, because they are the agents of change. In literary criticism, however, a dynamic character is not one who changes things, but one who is changed. The type of person who is able to change the world does not need to be adaptable. Therefore, high social status may tend to make a character static rather than dynamic.

In R.U.R. there is another paradox surrounding the two characters called Helena. Helena Glory, daughter of the president, wants to set the robots free so they can behave like humans. She refuses to see the robots as machines, believing that anything resembling a human being should have a soul. Helena never changes these views, making her a static character.

The other Helena in the play, Robot Helena, should not be capable of change, since she is a machine. However, she falls in love with another robot, Primus, and offers to lay down her life for him, as he does for her. This demonstrates that she has a soul, and is a dynamic character, despite starting life as a machine.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team