What is the theme of The Pillowman?

Expert Answers info

Estrella D'Amore eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write81 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

As the other educators have stated, a major theme in The Pillowman is child abuse.

The play touches on how two brothers, Katurian and Michal, were abused in different ways and how they react to it in different ways.

Katurian uses the memories of abuse as motivation for his dark stories—you could say that he is able to create art out of the horrors of his childhood. His brother Michal is so disturbed from the effects of abuse that he ends up using Katurian's stories to commit murders.

One of the interesting aspects presented in the play is the story of the Pillowman himself, who kills children before they can live miserable lives and commit suicide as adults. At the end of the story, he kills his child-self as well.

This story encourages the reader to reflect on how differently we think about death of children compared to adults. The Pillowman explores the long-term effects of abuse and the cyclical nature of violence.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Steph Müller eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write444 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Business, and Social Sciences

The theme of this macabre drama is child abuse (specifically at the hands...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 556 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

M.P. Ossa, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Lecturer, ESL/TEFL Instructor

bookM.A. from Chapman University


calendarEducator since 2008

write5,680 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Business

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Ask a Question