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The Maids

Jean Genet

Key Facts

Important Quotations Explained

Study Questions and Essay Topics

full title ·  The Maids

author · Jean Genet

type of work · Drama

genre · Absurdist drama

language · Originally French as Les Bonnes

time and place written · France, late 1940s

date of first production · Paris, April 17, 1947

publisher · Grove Press

narrator · No narrator; drama

climax · The climax occurs when Claire drinks the poisoned tea

protagonist · Solange; Claire

antagonist · Madame

setting (time) · Modern day

setting (place) · The bedroom of a wealthy Madame

point of view · The audience empathizes equally with Solange and Claire, though it is Solange's literal visions that dominate at the end

falling action · Solange imagines Madame's reaction to her own death

tense · Play; present tense

foreshadowing · The sisters plot to kill Madame from the beginning

tone · Dream-like, tense, hostile

themes · Illusion as a reaction against authority; Otherness and whirligigs

motifs · Self-conscious theatricality; Filth

symbols · Red velvet dress

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