The Bald Soprano
by Eugene Ionesco
The Bald Soprano Versions of Reality 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.
Mary: "Elizabeth is not Elizabeth, Donald is not Donald." (139)
It's a good thing the Martins don't hear Mary say this or their reality would be totally blown away. After all the lengthy deductions that the Martins go through to try and remember each other, Mary lets us in on the secret that they really aren't who they think they are at all. Of course, how do we know for sure that Mary knows what she's talking about? All this confusion over what to believe forces us to ask ourselves, "Are any of us who we think we are?"
Mr. Smith: "And what is even more interesting is the fact that firemen's stories are all true, and they're based on experience."
Fire Chief: "I speak from my own experience. Truth, nothing but the truth. No fiction." (337-338)
This information proves to be highly suspicious. As you'll see in the next quote, the Fire Chief launches into several stories which seem pretty impossible. He even calls his first story "an experimental fable" (251). A story that is a fable means that is fictional. So, once again, Ionesco is messing with reality. The characters tell us one thing and do the exact opposite. We never know quite what to believe.
Fire Chief: "'The Dog and the Cow,' an experimental fable. Once upon a time another cow asked another dog: 'Why have you not swallowed you trunk?' 'Pardon me,' replied the dog, 'it is because I thought that I was an elephant.'"
Mrs. Martin: "What's the moral?"
Fire Chief: "That's for you to find out." (251-253)
Notice how much reality shifts in the Fire Chief's "experimental fable." It's almost impossible to tell what's real and what's not. He describes the animals as "another cow" and "another dog." The use of the word "another" throws into question whether each animal is either a cow or a dog. Then we're forced to wonder if the dog is actually an elephant. The bending of reality found in this little story is reminiscent of the reality bending that's going on in the play itself.