The Kugelmass Episode

by Woody Allen

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Student Question

What is Kugelmass's attitude towards women, analysis, and Persky?

Expert Answers

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Kugelmass’s attitude toward women is very negative. He views them only as objects to meet his desires. While considering and later having an affair, Kugelmass never considers his wife’s feelings and how an affair might affect her. He describes her as his ball and chain and talks about staying with her to avoid a pricey divorce. He doesn’t treat Emma any better. He is first smitten with her but becomes bored and tries to escape her as soon as she becomes “real.”

Kugelmass does not think too highly of analysis, either. Although Dr. Mandel, his therapist, makes several attempts to reason with Kugelmass about the affair, he continues to ignore him and follow his own train of thought. At the end of the session, when the analyst states that he isn’t a magician, Kugelmass states that is what he needs and quits therapy. This exchange suggests Kugelmass does not respect the art of therapy but instead wants a magic cure to his problems.

Finally, Kugelmass’s attitude toward Persky is dependent on Persky’s value to Kugelmass. Initially, he  views The Great Persky as a con artist. However, when Persky delivers on his promise to provide Kugelmass passage into a literary work, Kugelmass then begins to see him as a way to get what he wants. When Emma gets stuck in modern times, Kugelmass takes out his frustrations on Persky. When Persky can again give Kugelmass what he wants, Kugelmass calls him a genius.

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