Summary Of The Visit By Friedrich D�rrenmatt

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The play The Visit, takes place in the late 1950’s, post-World War 2, in Güllen, Germany, the town being in complete ruin and in the need of money. When a special offered is made by the main character to help them prosper, they can't seem to resist the temptation. In his tragicomedy, the author Friedrich Dürrenmatt focuses on his moneyed main character Claire Zachanassian as a way to highlight the manipulation of a society through power. Claire’s power to manipulate is first portrayed when she arrives to Güllen and pulls the emergency brake. The Train Supervisor informs her that in Germany no one pulls the emergency brake even if it is an emergency because staying on time is their priority. When Claire’s asked for an explanation by the Train Supervisor, she responds with “You are a blockhead. I’m here to pay this little town a visit. Do you expect me to jump off your express train at full speed?” (Dürrenmatt 10). At this point the supervisor is agitated and Claire orders her butler Boby, to give him “A thousand…And three thousand for the Railway Widows’ Relief Fund” (11) in order to forget the situation. When he’s informed of Claire’s name, he’s dismayed, “Madam is Madam Claire Zachanassian? Oh, I beg your pardon… We certainly would have stopped in Güllen if we’d had the faintest idea… It was a pure misunderstanding” (11-12), now regretful of his actions and speech, he offers to wait for Mrs. Zachanassian until her trip is over, but she sends him off. Pulling the emergency brake and bribing the Train Supervisor is an example of Claire’s ability to get what she wants. However, what Claire's really wants is, vengeance because when Ill was in a power position he threw her over for Matilda Blumhards money. In 1910, Claire claimed tha... ... middle of paper ... ...and that’s exactly what he did when Ill went to visit him and when the Gymnast decided to kill Ill. Ill is strangled to death by the Gymnast with a checkered tablecloth, following the vote of the townspeople to have justice done. The Mayor announces, “The Claire Zachanassian endowment has been accepted… Not for the sake of the money. But for the sake of justice…” (104) and early in the play Dürrenmatt has Claire ask the Gymnast “Have you ever used your strength to strangle someone? Once Ill is killed the journalist asks what’s going on, and the Doctor responds with “heart attack” (109) a reference to the beginning of the play, when Claire advises the Doctor, to write heart attack as the cause of death next time. They were all motivated from the beginning to satisfy their part in Claire's proposal. Claires money and power gave her the ability to get ever she wanted.

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