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The Chairs

Main Ideas Key Facts
Main Ideas Key Facts

full title The Chairs (in French, Les Chaises)

author Eugène Ionesco

type of work Drama

genre Absurdist drama/comedy

language French

time and place written Paris, 1952

date of first production Paris, April 22, 1952

publisher Grove Press

narrator No narrator; drama

climax The climax occurs when the Old Man and Old Woman commit suicide, and the Orator unintelligibly attempts to deliver the message

protagonist Old Man

antagonist There is no direct antagonist, though the Old Man's inability to deliver his own message is his primary obstacle

setting (time) Unclear and unimportant

setting (place) A house on an island

point of view As it is a play, there is no distinct point of view, but the audience empathizes with the Old Man

falling action The invisible crowd makes noise after the Orator leaves

tense Play; present tense

foreshadowing The Old Woman warns the Old Man not to fall out of the window at the beginning of the play

tone Absurdly comic, philosophical

themes The repetitive present and inaccessible past; Responsibility and a meaningful life

motifs Self-conscious theatricality

symbols Semicircular stage