The Absurd in Ionesco’s Dialogues Illustrated in La cantatrice chauve Cover Image

L’absurde dans les dialogues de Ionesco. L’exemple de La cantatrice chauve
The Absurd in Ionesco’s Dialogues Illustrated in La cantatrice chauve

Author(s): Catherine KERBRAT-ORECCHIONI
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Editura Echinox
Keywords: absurd in Ionesco’s dialogues; disturbances in ordinary conversation; politenesss and rudeness; instability; undecidability.

Summary/Abstract: This paper approaches the question of the « absurd » in Ionesco’s dialogues, and more precisely in La cantatrice chauve, by comparing the way they work to ordinary conversations. We consider, above all, the different types of disturbances present in the corpus, which can affect, as well, the fictional represented world (temporality, causality), the characters’ behaviour (amnesia, incoherence), their discourse (confusion in the use of words, paralogisms, automatisms), the rules of communication (conversational maxims, turn-taking, sequential organisation). Then we turn towards the question of politeness (seen as equivalent to « face-work ») and rudeness, in order to see how the different characters behave in this respect in the different situations they are involved in : conversations between husband and wife, masters and their maids, hosts and their guests in the context of a visit. As a conclusion, we assert that the feeling of the « absurd » in Ionesco’s plays originates mainly on principles of instability and undecidability.

  • Issue Year: 2010
  • Issue No: 07
  • Page Range: 9-47
  • Page Count: 39
  • Language: French
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