A study of some young characters in the early work of Jean Anouilh : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in French

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Massey University
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The thesis presents some young characters from the early work of Jean Anouilh, and their dilemmas, These young characters embody many of the ideas and ideals of the young Anouilh, and his subjectivity adds depth and realism. The first chapters each present one major work, along with one or more works of lesser importance, and in all these, characters take on similar characteristics, and modes of behaviour: all conform to a particular code of ethics, and this generally involves revolt of some kind against society, home or life. This study culminates in the chapter depicting the young Antigone, who epitomises youthful absolutes and romantic ideals. Prior to the concluding chapter, some of the works of Jean Anouilh after Antigone, 1944, are presented. These works are chosen to give some impressions of the change in Anouilh's themes as he grows older. The works of the 1970's show a complete change of emphesis and viewpoint: now, the audience, instead of seeing the world through the eyes of a young man or woman, sees everything through the eyes of an older man. And, instead of youth either eagerly anticipating involvement with life, or willingly opting out of its corruptions and compromises, we see older characters, who, with age, have grown cynical, bitter and regretful. Now the youthful heroes and heroines are gone, and in their place are the older and sad Anouilhean victims. The conclusion surveys the Anouilhean Theatre as a whole, and affords a final comment on Anouilh's impact as a young 20tn Century dramatist.
Anouilh, Jean, 1910-1987 -- Characters