The Bald Soprano
by Eugene Ionesco
The Bald Soprano Philosophical Viewpoints: The Absurd 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. Martin: "He was tying his shoelace which had come undone."
Mr. Martin, Mr. Smith, Mrs. Smith: "Fantastic!"
Mr. Smith: "If someone else had told me this, I'd not believe it." (189-191)
Everybody is totally amazed that Mrs. Martin saw someone tying their shoe. Their astonishment seems to make even this seemingly commonplace activity sound absurd. You see this kind of thing throughout The Bald Soprano. Everything from having guests over to eating dinner is somehow made to seem totally weird in Ionesco's bizarre world.
Mr. Martin: "One sees things even more extraordinary everyday, when one walks around. For instance, today on the Underground I myself saw a man, quietly sitting on a seat, reading his newspaper."
Mrs. Smith: "What a character!" (192-193)
Here again the characters marvel at a totally normal everyday activity. What's so amazing about a dude reading a paper on the subway? Well, Absurdists believed that our lives are essentially meaningless; therefore everything we do to fill our days is somehow absurd. If there's no point to anything, then reading a paper is really just as strange as dressing like a chicken and singing the national anthem. Everything is relative if there are no absolutes.
Mrs. Smith: "We were arguing because my husband said that each time the doorbell rings there is always someone there."
Mr. Martin: "It is plausible."
Mrs. Smith: "And I was saying that each time the doorbell rings there is never anyone there. […] it has been proved, not by theoretical demonstrations, but by facts." (248-250)
Mrs. Smith isn't totally crazy. She just heard the doorbell ring several times, and each time she opened the door there was no one there. She "logically" concluded then that when the doorbell rings no one is ever there. When her husband answered, however, the Fire Chief was there, which blew a hole in her tidy little theory. Throughout the play characters attempt to use logic to explain the absurdity of the events going on around them. Are we really so different? People often use logic and reasoning to try and explain the universe. If you're like the Absurdists, however, and you believe the universe and its greater meaning is ultimately unknowable, then all this use of logic can seem pretty ridiculous. People used to think the Sun revolved around the Earth for example. It seemed logical; it certainly looks that way from our vantage point here on Earth. Eventually, though, this theory was proven untrue. How do we know if things we now take for fact are actually true? Will our feeble human minds ever be able to truly grasp the great big everything?