Monday, March 2, 2009

Would you? or wouldn't you?

After having watched, and had ample time to reflect on the play Pillowman, I feel that the play attempts to convey several messages. These messages that Martin McDonagh– the creator of the play- exemplified through his play can be interpreted as both positive and negative. Throughout the play there were a number of scenes that could be the cause of criticism. However, I will put the vulgarity, grotesqueness, and disturbing images aside and focus on what I believed the main message to be. Being a truly optimistic person by heart, I believe that this dark and gloomy play was attempting to convey to the audience the self-worth of your offspring. Unlike most general understandings of offspring, the creator uses all forms of personal creation to describe one's offspring.
Taking a post structuralism approach, that in which there is no use of outside text, I will begin to break down the play. The play starts off with an interrogation scene of the protagonist Katurian. Rather shortly into the play it is demonstrated how passionate Katurian is about his short-stories. These stories become “his babies;” later on in the play it is more noticeable the extent in which he takes in an attempt to save them. Deviating briefly, the play focuses our attention to how his brother, Michael, becomes who he is. At the age of eight, Michael begins to be tortured by his parents:justifing their actions as an experiment. This experiment becomes a plot device for the rest of the play; Katurian is nurtured, while Michael is tortured in an attempt to distinguish a discrepancy between the two. At the end of the play when the audience finds out that Michael did commit these heinous crimes, it is evident the extent in which the treatment as a child has affect these two men. Katurian kills his parents out of compassion for his brother, while Michael kills the children out of pure curiosity. This difference can be attributed to the parents; Katurian aggressively tells Michael that he is just like their parents, “You killed those innocence kids for no reason. You will now live eternity with mom and dad taking care of you.” Although there are more subtle reinforcements of the self-worth of offspring, McDonagh explicitly conveys this theme at the end of the play. Katurian knows he is going to be executed, so he takes drastic measures to save the life of his offspring: his offspring being his texts. He admits to six killings, three of which he didn’t commit, just to preserve the sanctity of his works.
Although this condensed analysis doesn’t give the play enough credit, it does lay a base for what I believe the overarching metaphor of the story is,self-worth of one’s offspring. Throughout the bulk of the play our attention is directed at the relationship between the brothers; when at our subconscious level, we are being force feed the worth of Katurian’s offspring. At the very end of the play Katurian is executed due to his “justifiable” actions, at least in his mind. However, as noticed by Ariel, the bad cop, the incriminating information divulged by Katurian wouldn’t have been brought to the forefront if he didn’t passionately care about his texts. The final scene ends with a bang, literally, with the death of Katurian by gun shot. He died for his offspring, no matter if that offspring was only on paper. As the crowd began to disperse, I was left with a personal question that seemed rather obvious at first, but upon reflection I begin to further ponder the answer. As a last thought I direct the question towards you; would you give your life to preserve the life of your offspring?

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