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|Download E-pub á Caligula and Other Plays ê Caligula Cross Purpose The Just The PossessedCaligula Reveals Some Aspects Of The Existential Notion Of The Absurd By Portraying An Emperor So Mighty And So Desperate In His Search For Freedom That He Inevitably Destroys Gods, Men And HimselfThe Dramatic Impetus Of Cross Purpose, However, Comes From The Tension Between Consent To And Refusal Of Man S Absurdity It Is The Tragedy Of A Man Who Returns Home To His Mother And Sister Without Revealing His Identity To Them By The Time Of The Just And The Possessed, Refusal And Rebellion Have Taken Over, And In These Overtly Political Plays The Latter Based On Dostoyevsky S The Devils Camus Dramatizes Action And Revolt In The Name Of Liberty Caligula 4.5 starsCALIGULA Ah yes Now listen I m not mad in fact I ve never felt so lucid I suddenly felt a desire for the impossible That s all Pauses Things as they are, in my opinion, are far from satisfactory.HELICON Many people share your opinion.Caligula, a just ruler, returns from mourning his sister s death with a new vision And a request that he be brought the moon If he is the ruler, and his rule is law, then this must be done, or none of it works CALIGULA with sudden violence All it proves is that I m surrounded by lies and self deception But I ve had enough of that I wish men to live by the light of truth And I ve the power to make them do so Camus takes the nihilism of his times and applies it to a totalitarian State authority writing during the ascendancy of Nazism in Western Europe The dilemma being portrayed is central to the existentialist project once man gives up on the idea of Grand Narrative meaning to life socially imparted self delusion , is the inevitable end point, is the logic of bald faced truth, the path to nihilism hedonism Various characters in the play respond to Caligula s insanity in ways that can be considered representative of various segments of society, their approach for attempting to deal with this trauma of lack of meaning Helicon, the bureaucrat, who hardly misses a beat Scipio, the poet, who rejects it, but doesn t know why, and eventually comes around to it, but doesn t know why Cherea, the scholar, who rejects it, and needs it destroyed Carsonia, the lover, who lives with it and dies for it.SCIPIO Have you nothing of the kind in your life, no refuge, no mood that makes the tears well up, no consolation CALIGULA Yes, I have something of the kind.SCIPIO What is it CALIGULA very quietly Scorn A reading of Caligula in the final scene at my place during our Centenary of Camus Evening that certainly broke into full dramatic performance Here, Caligula reads script while manhandling his lover Caligula is certainly not insane but, like Meursault in The Stranger, he could be considered socially insane, he has become untethered from the other in the face of the impossibility of knowing it He understands that he can t live with this, that this is a broken method of living, just because it is living He tells Carsonia that loving is the opposite of living, that it is the very antonym It s not an inconvenient truth that bothers Caligula, it is an impossible truth the same as catching moons but the impossibility of it, never acknowledged due to the sheer irresolvable tension of it in the face of social existence So of course, Caligula must die, he does everything he can to assist the plotters in killing him, letting them go when they re captured He knows he can t live with the impossibility of his existence but he wants to live When he s being killed, stabbed in the face by Scipio and Cherea and others, his final words, as he dies, are I m still alive In the last moment of his life, as in every moment, he is fully alive, and that is his victory Cross Purpose 4 starsCamus uses a story of human tragedy taken from the news to illustrate the tragic absurd conditions of humanity As a product of greed and avarice, an indifference to other people is developed to such a degree in the Mother and here daughter that they are capable of killing men in their sleep for their money or is it the other way around There would be a way of reading these two characters as emblemic of first wave and second wave feminists respectively but that might get Camus blacklisted, so I won t pursue that Though both characters approach their denial and lack of certainty in different ways, they arrive at the same point This is a very personal and heimlich to be Freudian take on the Absurd which touches heavily on notions of personal identity and familial relations, but still very much in touch with universal condition.THE MOTHER in the same listless tone It only proves that in a world where everything can be denied, there are forces undeniable and on this earth where nothing is sure we have our certainties.Both collapse under the weight of certainty, something that have resisted for so long, but cannot avoid THE MOTHER But this world we live in doesn t make sense, and I have a right to judge it, since I ve tested all it has to offer, from creation to destruction.Since the central plot device relies on mistaken identity or at least, identity withheld much could be discussed regarding how the play expores the Absurd epistemologically Why does Jan withhold his identity Why not say It s I He goes through a few reasons, none of which sound that convincing to the reader or his wife like he s fitting the pieces post mortem The mother asks herself the same question after they ve killed him, but with a provision Oh why did he keep silence Silence is fatal But speaking is as dangerous the little he said hurried it on And the daughter, to the grieving wife, ends the argument later That in the normal order of things no one is ever recognised No one can really ever say It s I in any sort of meaningful way all they can do is further their personal narrative with the other Yes, it would have saved his life, but for how long And for what purpose At the end, in the universe with the ever present but ever silent God, finally God answers the grieving widow imploring Him for help The final word of the play is THE OLD MANSERVANT in the same tone No The Just 5 starsWe now see the progression of the bleakness of Camus dalliance with nihilism into what will become The Rebel An Essay on Man in Revolt summed up nicely with the chief of police talking to the condemned man SKOURATOV You begin by wanting justice, and in the end set up a police force.This was the play I expected the least from, and delivered the most How is the killing of another man justified Camus, again responding to reported events, whereby terrorists refused to kill their target when he was accompanied by children, but carried out the bombing later successfully Stepan is your future Stalinist Everybody lies The important thing is to lie well Honour is a luxury reserved for those that have carriages, is another of his gems Opposed in motivation to Kaliayev, who loves life over justice, but is prepared to kill and die, or even die twice , in order that others may live To be just is to get beyond the immediate actions to the overall effects The warmth of the world is not for these people They have to be cold for the projected warmth of the future.Dora, the heroine, and most striking of the characters of this play, and the most striking of all Camus female characters I have read, says this, and names the play Do you remember what summer is like, Yanek but no it s always winter here We are not of this world we are the just There is a warmth in the world, but it is not for us Turning away Oh, pity the just Sounds a little self indulgent She s got reason to be, just at that moment, and it s affecting Of all Camus plays so far that I have read I have seen none on a stage only stage versions of his novels this is the first one where I have actually felt and thought to myself, wow, I would love to see someone great performing that on stage The others I have enjoyed, but I have potentially enjoyed them as a reader of a play, as opposed to be in touch with the performance of it And it was Dora, right at the end, that hit me in the guts Right after Yanek Kaliayev has gone to his death at the gallows, with a hangman jumping up and down on his shoulders to snap his neck, after being offered a reprieve if he d turn informer DORA Then do this for me let me throw the bomb ANNENKOV looks at her Yes the next time, I want to throw the bomb I want to be the first to throw it ANNENKOV We don t let women throw the bombs.DORA with a shriek Am I a woman now They all look at her in silence VOINOV Yes, let her.This text is ironic and dark, but also beautiful You understand the narrative inevitability of Kaliayev s death, just as you do the Duke s, and Kaliayev does to He is Camus absurd hero, and he battles Stepov, the ungiving Stalinist Dora, the lover Skouratov, the Police chief and finally, the religious Grand Duchess, the widow of them man he has killed, and while he doesn t always win, he remains truthful GRAND DUCHESS But men are vile You can either forgive them or destroy them What else can you do KALIAYEV You can die with them.GRAND DUCHESS But you die alone He died alone.Both Skouratov and the Grand Duchess want to save him, but he refuses In announcing her imminent arrival in his cell, he says to him SKOURATOV First the police and now religion You are being spoilt, aren t you But everything holds together Imagine God without prisons What solitude Camus is no apologist for terrorism he opposed the Algerian nationalist terrorist movement when his ideological pals seemed to be all for it but he is trying to occupy these characters, and he does so authentically and powerfully The thorny nature of Justice, the dynamic scope of its lens and framing, and how that interacts with Love of fellow man and of sexual partner is stripped bare in a very cold light The Possessed 3.5 stars It was possibly a mistake and an injustice upon the play to read the novel it was based on The Devils immediately before My The Devils review Camus says in his foreword that he is well aware of all that separates the play from that amazing novel and that he merely tried to follow the books undercurrent and to proceed as it does from satiric comedy to drama and then to tragedy I assumed that Camus was going to select particular elements and characters to dramatize this undercurrent for the stage, and had even predicted how he was going to do that, with what scenes, and what characters he might use and or conflate but, instead of merely an undercurrent, a very large percentage of the novel in narrative terms is squeezed into a three part script with 27 characters Consequently, in Parts One and Three, it seems like everyone is in a great rush to get things done, and I even couldn t help imagining them talking to each other really really quickly.But what Camus does do is reinvent Stavrogin in a very interesting way, particularly in Part Two where the pace seems to slow and the characters seem to get a bit of collective breathing space He becomes the struggling man towards being the Absurd Hero to Kirilov s reasoned suicide in the face of intellect over faith, and Shutov s abject living in the face of faith over intellect And all three headed for annihilation in their own ways KIRILOV Have you ever looked at the leaf of a tree STAVROGIN Yes.KIRILOV Green and shiny, with all its veins visible in the sunlight Isn t it wonderful Yes, a leaf justifies everything Human beings, birth and death everything one does is goodSTAVROGIN Don t worry, I am a Christian Or, rather, I would be if I believed in God But He gets up there is no hare.SHUTOV No hare STAVROGIN Yes To make jugged hare, you need a hare To believe in God, you need a God Both Shutov and Kirilov were disciples of Stavrogin but Stavrogin, Shutov discovers, had been instructing them to completely opposite ends While Shutov was being taught that the blind life force driving a nation in search of its god is greater than reason and science , Kirilov was being taught the opposite.SHUTOV How could you tell him one thing and me the opposite STAVROGIN Probably I was trying, in both cases, to persuade myself.So just as teacher created pupils, pupils created teacher Stavrogin s fall is spectacular in the play he hits a nihilistic rock bottom.STAVROGIN I hate everything that lives on earth, and myself first of all So let destruction reign and crush them all, and with them all those who ape Stavrgoin, and Stavrogin himself Stavrogin loses faith in all things, while his vile do badder pal Peter Verkhovensky PETER Filth and decency are just words Everything is just words still has faith in himself, and puts himself and his own interests above all.How Stavrogin meets his end is quite different in the play also it comes as a direct result of one of his numerous love interests the only one left alive at the end of the play.STAVROGIIN I am capable only of negation, of petty negation If I could believe in something, I could perhaps kill myself But I can t believe.DASHA trembling Nicholas, such a void is faith or the promise of faith.STAVROGIN looking at her after a moment of silence Hence, I have faith So he fails to accept his Absurd condition, and falls into faith, and dies, but dies happy Camus Stavrogin is a fascinating fully inked man in crisis who is crunchingly flawed and achingly sincere He reminded me sometimes of my impression of Kurtz in Heart of Darkness Everything is foreign to me, he says Doestoevsky s Stavrogin is much shadowy, particularly in relation to some ot the other vivid characters in the novel.Camus calls Dostoevesky s book a prophetic book not only because it prefigures our nihilism, but also because its protagonists are torn from the dead souls unable to love and suffering from that inability, wanting to believe and yet unable to do so like those who people our society and our spiritual world today And it remains so today Camus play, for all its flaws, works very well in parts, but poorly in others, despite its content Camus devotion to this amazing novel maybe brings him undone He wrote the play in 1953 or 54, but says in the foreword he had been visualizing it for twenty years, and it was touring in January 1959, after a six month run, when the company of actors were informed of Camus death in a car accident. Just read Cross Purpose on this outing A plot as basic as The Postman Always Rings Twice, but a presentation like some odd ritual observance Has that kind of once removed recitation response feeling of religious rites, and with Camus the liturgy is a narrowly bleak philosophy.A man returns to his home, a roadside Inn, to find that he is unrecognized by his own Mother and Sister for their part, they are consumed in the poisoning and serial murder of their male visitors, who don t suspect that a night at this inn will be their last The expression dysfunctional is vastly inadequate in the description of this reunited family the unmentioned absence of a head of household or Father figure underlines the characters aimlessness and failure to find identity Both Kind Hearts And Coronets and Arsenic And Old Lace come to mind, with a dash of the inevitable Sweeney Todd As the score of a musical work is meant to provide the starting line for the conductor and the musicians, this play sets out the barest guidlelines for what the actors may make of it This could be imagined as anything from the most solemn greek tragedy all the way to the other extreme of a leering and transgressive cabaret of cruelty, with staging and mise en scene to suit the version Could easily be Brechtian operetta or Kabuki madhouse, perhaps with a little impromptu rendition of Mack The Knife Camus has left tremendous wide spaces for a variety of approaches subtext and silences might be filagreed with elaborate exotica or left bluntly, gapingly open, dependent on the intent of the production. Do you think, Cherea, that it s possible for two men of much the same temperament and equal pride to talk to each other with complete frankness if only once in their lives Can they strip themselves naked, so to speak, and shed their prejudices, their private interests, the lies by which they live