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Six Characters in Search of an Author

Characters

The Step-Daughter

Characters The Step-Daughter

Dashing, impudent, and beautiful, the Step-Daughter also seeks the realization of the Characters' drama. Her "reality" as a Character is a fixed, grimacing mask of vengeance. She seeks stage-life to revenge herself on the Father and she appears in two principle forms that define a certain fantasy of woman. As noted above, she and the Father are the major players in their drama's traumatic scene: the inadvertent sexual encounter that precipitates the encounter between the original and surrogate families in the back of Madame Pace's shop. Exploited despite her mourning for her father, the Step-Daughter appears here as victim. At the same time, on-stage she appears seductive, exhibitionistic, and dangerously cruel.

As she tells the Manager, the Father's perversity is responsible for hers. Her perversity emerges in particular with her obsession with the spectacle of the Characters' drama. Whereas the Father offers their play as a more "cerebral drama," tracing its players' motivations, its overarching structures, and its narrative trajectories, she will conjure its scenes in speech, calling for its trappings forth on the stage. Many of these props concern the visual: the mirror, the window, and the screen. The Step-Daughter also functions as object of this spectacle. Though dressed, like the other members of her immediate family, in mourning for their own father, she wears her clothes with "great elegance." For example, she brashly erupts into a cabaret-style performance of "Prenez garde à Tchou-Tchin-Tchou": her display would lure the company into their drama's realization. More explicitly does the Step-Daughter reveal her obsession with her self-image in her memory of the author. As she tells the company, she strove most to seduce him from the shadows about his writing table. In her vision of this seduction, she progressively exiles the other Characters from the room, ultimately leaving her alone to illuminate the darkness. With the Characters' drama, the Step-Daughter would become a star. For her, the drama's stage-life would realize her self-image above all.