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Rhinoceros

Eugène Ionesco

Character List

Plot Overview

Analysis of Major Characters

Berenger -  Berenger is the protagonist of the play, an Everyman slacker who finds neither his work in an office nor the culture around him fulfilling. Alienated, yet still confused as to why he has been displaced, he is unwilling to commit himself to anything in life but his love for Daisy. His friend Jean constantly reprimands the submissive Berenger for his uncouth appearance and apathetic attitudes.

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Jean -  Jean is Berenger's foil, a highly cultured, somewhat arrogant and angry young man who prides himself on his rationality. He urges Berenger to be more like him. His occasional lapses, however, expose cracks in his façade of efficiency.

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Logician -  The Logician is a highly rational man who appears only in the first act, but who is referred to several other times. He believes strictly in the laws of logic, though his attempts to prove anything often collapse.

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Daisy -  Daisy is Berenger's love interest. She, too, is fairly uncommitted to anything and does not mind the presence of the rhinoceroses. Nevertheless, she is the one other character of proportion in the play that has an emotional life.

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Botard -  Botard is a senior member of Berenger's office. He is cynical and skeptical, and jealous of Dudard's rising stature. He refuses to believe at first the presence of the rhinos and seeks rational explanations for everything.
Dudard -  Dudard is a co-worker of Berenger's and a rival for Daisy's affections. He prides himself on his intellect and rationality.
Papillon -  Papillon is the head of Berenger's office. He privileges work above his employees.
The Boeufs  -  Mr. Boeuf, another co-worker of Berenger's, appears off-stage only as a rhinoceros. His wife remains devoted to him despite his new form.
Townspeople  -  The Old Gentleman, the Grocer, the Grocer's Wife, the Housewife, the Café Proprietor, and the Waitress appear in the first act. They are characterized largely by their trivial concerns, though the Old Gentleman is very interested in the Logician.

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