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.
Mrs. Smith: "We've drunk the soup, and eaten the fish and chips, and the English salad. The children have drunk English water. We've eaten well this evening." (2)
Mrs. Smith begins the play by speaking only of the very recent past. The fact that she feels the need to bring up things that have only just happened is a little weird. It seems to make even normal day-to-day things, like eating dinner, out to be a little absurd.
Mr. Smith: "Fortunately, they [the Watsons] had no children."
Mrs. Smith: "That was all they needed! Children!"
Mr. Smith: "She [Mrs. Watson] might very well remarry."
Mr. Smith: "But who would take care of the children?" (50-53)
The Smiths have the worst memories ever. They can't keep it straight from one minute to the next whether the Watsons have children or not. They can't even seem to remember if Mr. Watson is alive or dead. You find this same trait in many of Ionesco's characters. Check out Shmoop's guide to The Chairs if you don't believe us.
Mrs. Smith: "We were expecting them [the Martins]. And we were hungry. Since they didn't put in an appearance, we were going to start dinner without them. We've had nothing to eat all day." (81)
Here's another example of Mrs. Smith's terrible memory. What do you mean you didn't eat, lady? You started off the play by listing every single thing you had for dinner. All these absurd examples of inaccurate memories in the play make us start to ask bigger questions. How do we know if anything in the past really happened? Memory is a pretty unreliable thing. Is the "now" all we really have in life?