Themes and Meanings

(Comprehensive Guide to Drama)

The Bald Soprano has been often said to deal with the tragedy of language. Indeed, the disintegration of language is one of the main themes of this play. The Bald Soprano, however, is above all a parody of the bourgeoisie: not of the English bourgeoisie, but of a universal bourgeoisie which, according to Eugène Ionesco, has become dehumanized and spiritually empty, living by fixed ideas conveyed in ready-made expressions. The utility of language is then but one symptom or aspect of this dehumanization. The language of the Smiths and Martins is indeed fossilized, filled with slogans and commonplace expressions. The more they try to talk to one another, the less they communicate and the more language disarticulates itself: Mechanical phrases lead to nonsensical sentences, which give way to meaningless words, which in turn are soon reduced to chaotic sounds. At the end, these characters, filled with anguish and thoroughly frustrated by their inability to communicate rather than simply chatter, permit language to explode and are reduced to a level of subhumanity. What Ionesco depicts, then, is the tragedy of human communication.

The Bobby Watson episode introduces another important theme, closely linked to noncommunication: human interchangeability. According to Ionesco, the Smiths and the Martins are unable to communicate because, like the petite bourgeoisie they represent, they are devoid of spirituality; they have forgotten how to think...

(The entire section is 549 words.)


(Drama for Students)

Absurdist themes are pervasive in The Bald Soprano. In fact, the work is often critically mined to...

(The entire section is 1292 words.)