The Bald Soprano
by Eugene Ionesco
The Bald Soprano Language and Communication Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue. We used Donald M. Allen's translation.
Mr. Smith: "Take a circle, caress it, and it will turn vicious." (486)
Notice how Ionesco pulls apart the familiar phrase, "it's a vicious circle" and rearranges it. Throughout this last section, he pulls this trick. Many clichés are deconstructed in some way. Some say that this robs them of meaning. Others think that by rearranging the context of these clichés Ionesco has reawakened the inherent meanings of the words.
Mrs. Smith: "Benjamin Franklin was right; you are more nervous than he." […]
Mrs. Martin: "I prefer a bird in the bush to a sparrow in a barrow." (491-496)
Along with clichés and seemingly obvious statements of fact, the characters also start spewing mangled versions of well known aphorisms at the end of the play. An aphorism is a popular saying which usually has a moral attached to it. The mention of Benjamin Franklin is no accident here. He was the author of Poor Richard's Almanac, which is an extremely famous collection of aphorisms. Above we see a mutilated version of, "A bird in the hand is worth to in the bush." Just like with many of the clichés in this last section, the aphorism has been rearranged in such a way that it may now mean nothing or everything all at the same time.
Mrs. Smith: Such caca, such caca, such caca, such caca, such caca, such caca, such caca, such caca, such caca."
Mr. Martin: "Such cascades of cacas, such cascades of cacas, such cascades of cacas, such cascades of cacas, such cascades of cacas, such cascades of cacas, such cascades of cacas, such cascades of cacas." (515-516)
If you're not aware, "caca" means poop…yes, poop. We find it quite interesting that Ionesco chooses to have Mrs. Smith and Mr. Martin repeat this word over and over again. Mr. Martin even goes so far as to say that there are "cascades," or waterfalls, of "caca." It some ways, the end of the play is very much like this – a water fall of poop, we mean. When we're bombarded with this random mix of mutilated clichés, facts, and aphorisms, it's almost like we're being showered with all the waste and debris of the English language.