Can Ionesco's Rhinoceros be seen as a study of European history through the individual mind?

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Ionesco was not interested in political or even historical themes—this play of proliferation, like his “The Chairs ,” is a dramatic visualization of the existential warning of losing our individuality by submitting to “rules” that aren’t really there.  Our “non-rhinocerosness” (our humanity) is preserved only when we act as...

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Ionesco was not interested in political or even historical themes—this play of proliferation, like his “The Chairs,” is a dramatic visualization of the existential warning of losing our individuality by submitting to “rules” that aren’t really there.  Our “non-rhinocerosness” (our humanity) is preserved only when we act as choice-making human beings, not as un-selfconscious beasts (rhinosceroses, incidentally, are not herd animals).  A comparison can be made to Kafka’s Gregor Samsa, who takes on a beetle-like exterior.  Ionesco’s plays are composed “on the level of necessity” (to quote Arvo Part); that is, he spent his life trying to defend individuality.  Any reference to European history is wrongly focused, in my opinion.

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