The Visit by Friedirch Durrenmatt Essay

The Visit by Friedirch Durrenmatt Essay

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Allusions, by definition, are literary devices with casual references to other people, places, or events in history and literature; however, Swiss author Friedrich Durrenmatt relies upon the classical device not only to interconnect stories but also to support his life views in the plot of the play The Visit. The play follows the townspeople of Güllen, a dilapidated German village, and their succumbance to temptation as billionairess Claire Zachanassian returns and offers one billion dollars for salvation. However, she demands the death of the town’s most popular man--and her former lover--Alfred Ill, for denying a paternity case when she was seventeen. Originally apathetic, the town slowly grows in “debt and prosperity” (49), causing Ill to panic and ask authoritative figures to arrest Claire and prevent his death, to no avail. Reflecting his views of infinitely changing life, Durrenmatt, born in 1921 in Switzerland, created The Visit to portray the central theme that money would corrupt even the most morally strongest, in the case of the Teacher. Classical literary strategies prove essential not to extent of driving the plot, but to allow a deeper understanding of the individual within a society. In The Visit by Friedrich Durrenmatt, the author utilizes allusions to reinforce the characterization of challenging fate; perversion of religious motifs juxtapose the increasing corruption and happiness of the town.
In respect to the wealthy Claire Zachanassian, Durrenmatt relies heavily upon classical Greek mythology not only to indirectly characterize her but also to satirize humanity by subverting said Greek elements. Claire Zachanassian, similar to Greek ploy of deux ex machina, suddenly sweeps in to salvage the disparaged town, b...


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... The Visit to characterize the individual in addition to questioning the strength of morality. The Teacher refers to Claire Zachanassian, the prostitute-turned-billionairess, several times as prominent figures from Greek mythology to exemplify her power and to further alienate the audience from the “avenging goddess”. Implications of Oedipal techniques collectively link the townspeople through association of corruption; characterizing Ill as a Christ figure also serves to contrast with the weakening principles as money truly displays its influence. Ironically, however, though Durrenmatt constantly reworked his plays as a reflection of life, he depends upon quintessential literary strategies to illustrate that human morals, though weakened, are timeless and are present in all lives. Allusions in The Visit are essential to clearly portray sentimentals and structure.


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