The Bald Soprano
by Eugene Ionesco
The Bald Soprano Memory and the Past 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. Martin: "Darling, let's forget all that has not passed between us, and, now that we have found each other again, let's try not to lose each other any more, and live as before." (140)
Do you notice all the problems in logic in this statement? Mr. Martin tells his wife that they should forget what "has not passed between" them. How do you forget something that hasn't happened? Also, if he wants them to never forget each other again, it's a really bad idea to try and "live as before." If they do that, they'll, of course, forget each other – just like they did before.
Fire Chief: "You don't have a little fire in the chimney, something burning in the attic or in the cellar?"
Mrs. Smith: "I am sorry to disappoint you but I do not believe there's anything here at the moment. I promise that I will notify you when we do have something."
Fire Chief: "Please, don't forget, it would be a great help."
Mrs. Smith: "That's a promise." (307-310)
The idea that someone would forget to notify the fire department that their house is on fire is pretty darn absurd. Of course, it's not much crazier than a lot of the things that the characters in the play seem to be capable of forgetting. If we were the Fire Chief, we wouldn't trust Mrs. Smith's "promise" at all.
Fire Chief: "It was she [Mary] who extinguished my first fires."
Mary: "I'm your little firehose." (436-437)
It looks like Mary and the Fire Chief have a past together, and a romantic one at that. However, in the world of The Bald Soprano, the reality of the past is always suspect. What do you think? Are Mary and the Fire Chief really long lost lovers? Or have they just invented this romantic past in the moment?