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A tall, severe man of twenty-two, the Son appears contemptuous, supercilious, and humiliated by his fellow Characters. Having been grown up in the country, he is estranged from his family and, in his aloofness, will cause the elimination of the stepchildren within the Characters' drama. Ironically then will he ultimately appear as witness to the two younger children's demise. His role as a character lies in his ashamed refusal to participate in the household and the Characters' spectacle, a spectacle to which he nevertheless remains bound. More specifically, he appears to be structurally tied within the Character's drama to the Step-Daughter, whose look of scorn and exhibitionism fixes him in his guilt, shame, and reserve. In his aversion to spectacle, he in particular attacks the Actors who would imitate them. For him, the Actor-as-mirror, in its necessary inability to reflect the Character as he sees himself, freezes the Character's self-image and renders it grotesque. The Son also protests to the Manager that he remains an unrealized character, perhaps one that even stands for the will of the author in objecting to their drama's staging. As the Father counters, however, his unrealized nature is his own situation in both the Characters' drama and its attempted rehearsal on-stage; his aloofness within the drama makes him the drama's very hinge. The Son's position as an unrealized character appears most clearly in the scene he would refuse to play with his Mother in Act III, a scene that is actually a non-scene. The Mother enters his bedroom, and the Son, in his aversion to scenes, flees to the garden to witness his step-siblings' deaths.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Six Characters in Search of an Author!