In the play Tango by Slawomir Mrozek, what type of person is Ala? 

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ala is the love interest in Mrozek's play Tango. She is not a typical love interest in that she is as much an antagonist as she is a protagonist.

Tango is the story of a family and their servant who are in love-hate relationships with each other, hence the allusion to the Argentinian dance, the Tango, in the title. Tango dancing is sensual, antagonistic and attractive all at once. It is the physical demonstration of a push-pull interpersonal dynamic in which dancers are attracted to each other and repelled by each other.

Tango has had many decades of popularity, many different styles (primarily Argentine, European and North American), and different forms associated with the styles. In its most mild form, as demonstrated in 1930 and seen on OpenImages, it is a dance of dominance and submission, with her step exactly opposite to his. In its most contemporary form, as demonstrated by Antonio Banderas and Anna Rosh in Take the Lead (Friedlander, 2006), the Tango is a dance of resistance and conquest.

In Tango, Ala is resistant, while Arthur is attempting a conquest. His anger at his family and his absolutely correct manners negatively flavor his attempt at conquering Ala's affection and consent to marriage. As a person, Ala is conceited, self-satisfied, self-indulgent, pampered, immodest, even immoral as she has an affair with Eddie, the servant. She is disinterested, insincere, petulant, lacking in sympathetic compassion and antagonistic in a lack-luster way. Ala is the perfect embodiment of a Tango partner for a counterrevolutionary who is idealistic and disgusted by her disorderly, disruptive, immoral individualism.

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