Rhinoceros Research Paper

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Emris Arthur English 126- Essay #3 Professor Dinsman 15TH May 2017 Conformism in Ionesco’s Rhinoceros This paper seeks to analyze Eugene Ionesco’s anxiety about the spread of fascism in society through conformity as highlighted in his play Rhinoceros, which was inspired by Ionesco’s personal experiences in the 1930s Romania. Using the theatre of absurd, Ionesco depicts the main character Berenger's struggle to maintain his identity and integrity as a human, when everyone else in his small town, even his best friend Jean and girlfriend Daisy conformed into animalism. In Rhinoceros, Berenger is portrayed as a care-free, passive, drunk that did not fit in with society. He complains to his best friend Jean about how bored he felt with his…show more content…
According to Maria Lupas in her “Early Resistance to Fasicism in Eugene Ionesco’s Interwar Romanian Journalism” “Ionesco made no secret that one of his personal dramas was witnessing his friends and family members succumb to the ideology of fascists Romania in the 1930’s” (p.74). Also John M. Valentine quote Ionesco’s in his piece “Kitsch and Absurd in Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros “I have been very much struck by what one might call the current of opinion, by its rapid evolution, its power of contagion, which is that of a real epidemic. People allow themselves suddenly to be invaded by a new religion, a doctrine, a fanaticism…At such moments we witness a veritable mental mutation. I don’t know if you have noticed it, but when people no longer share your opinions, when you can no longer make yourself understood by them, one has the impression of being confronted with monsters – rhinos for example….They would kill you with the best of consciences” (p 56). Totalitarian systems such as fascism thus forces individuals to give up their intellect and transform from moral humans to violent animals. There are strong parallels between Ionesco’s own struggle and Berengers.
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