Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 303
Eugène Ionesco was one of the founding members of the Theater of the Absurd—a tradition of European theater in the mid-20th century that focused on the triviality of human affairs and the futility of human efforts.
Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 413
Exit the King is a play not about death itself but about the process of facing one’s own disintegration. Offered as a kind of debate on death, the play pits the young and passionate Queen Marie (who begs Berenger to be lost in the now) against the older and wiser Queen Marguerite (who insists that death must always inform one’s consciousness). The metaphysical debate is not over the nature of death, which remains mysterious in the play, but over its significance. Science, as represented by the learned Doctor, is powerless to stop the inevitable. The rest of humanity, embodied in the choruslike function of the Guard, is reduced to wooden cliché. For each person death is a unique experience, utterly new, and the most one can hope for is a Marguerite, a “guide” reminiscent of those in the ancient Tibetan Book of the Dead.
Exit the King is not a tragedy, for tragedy...
(The entire section contains 716 words.)
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