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.