The Significance of Masks in Art Speigleman's 'Maus'

1113 Words5 Pages
Masks have held countless uses and meanings throughout history. Masks have been used in plays, like those of Shakespeare, traditional dances, social gatherings, even as a form of casual or corporal punishment. Although masks have several different uses in different cultural situations, the meaning of the masks is generally the same. Masks are used to conceal an appearance and assume the identity of another. Metaphorically, masks can be used to hide feelings, to protect oneself, and to block out the outside world. Many of these examples are shown in Art Speigelman 's Maus.

During Maus, the illustration of masks is made very obvious. The features are pronounced and it is very clear that the characters are wearing masks. The illustration of
…show more content…
The media is portrayed as a money-hungry, pillaging, and unruly group of people. The members of the media put on masks to pretend they 're interested, and pretend they care. Unlike Art for the most part, the masks are something they have no choice in wearing; they need them to do their jobs properly.

Art feels as though he is trapped behind a mask involuntarily at times although too. The mask he wears during the second version of Maus is representational to the feelings he has of being trapped beneath the success of the first volume, the death of his father, his self-consciousness, and the Holocaust as a whole(Speigelman 41-46). He is being held prisoner to these thoughts, and the mask is a constant symbolic reminder of them to him. The mouse mask is a way to show that after the effects of all these elements, he does not truly feel like himself. The mask is also a reminder to his character in the book, which is provokes the guilt of his success, the guilt he feels of the Holocaust, and the guilt he feels of ridiculing his father 's story.

Art 's psychiatrist, Pavel, is somewhat a prisoner of a mask of his own. Pavel 's mask represents of his feelings of being embedded in his own past. Pavel does anything in his power to try to forget, and some could say pardon, the occurrence of the Holocaust in his life. He became a psychiatrist, to try and help people better understand and cope with problems of their own. He also fosters

    More about The Significance of Masks in Art Speigleman's 'Maus'

      Get Access