Essay on Friedrich Durrenmatt's The Visit

Essay on Friedrich Durrenmatt's The Visit

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Throughout the centuries doubles in literature create or intensify certain themes. In The Visit, doubles signify change and bring out the truth through dialogue, imagery, symbols, and characters. Characters function as doubles through dialogue, while symbols work to represent the characters. Settings enhance a character’s duality or employ them as doppelgangers. Doubles also show the irony within a work and how it makes a theme more important.
Dialogue is the most prominent form of doubling in the Visit. Dialogue doubles in two ways, when characters speak simultaneously and when characters repeat one another. The pair, Koby and Loby, is first introduced when Claire is stating her case for justice. She says that Ill impregnated her and bribed Koby and Loby so Ill would not have to claim the child’s paternity. When they admit to this crime, they say the dialogue together and repeat it. The dialogue is doubled by them speaking it together and doubled again by them repeating it. Doubling twice intensifies their message and shows the justice that was served to them for committing the crime, foreshadowing the justice that will be served to Ill. The simultaneous repetitions of lines show the guilt and Claire’s vengefulness especially when the Pair describes how Claire punished them. Toby and Roby, her past husbands, “castrated and blinded [them] castrated and blinded [them]” (Durrenmatt 34)
Durrenmatt employs another multiple through two women that visit Ill’s store. They enter the store to purchase goods, repeating after one another to double the order. First, they double the order starting with milk, then butter, bread, and finally chocolate. Each order gets increasingly more expensive by getting white bread and even splurging on cho...


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...acter or by being apart of the physical appearance of a character. The doubling symbols of the pair of yellow shoes and the black panther form the themes of corruption and ignorance in The Visit. Settings show a characters duality, like with Claire and the Golden Apostle. Through settings, symbols, and dialogue themes of corruption and ignorance are realized, and the change in the community is signified. The doubling within each of these literary elements upholds the change of morals. Doubles and pairs in the Visit prove that a simple dollar sign can improve the physical community but harm humanity’s standards. Durrenmatt warns the audience a character, like Claire, is someone that can change a society’s morals with the waving of a bill and the promise of justice.



Works Cited

Durrenmatt, Friedrich. The Visit. Trans. Joel Agee. New York: Grove Press, 2006. Print.

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