by Eugene Ionesco
The Chairs Art and Culture 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.
Old Man: "I have a message, that's God's truth. I struggle, a mission, I have something to say, a message to communicate to humanity, to mankind..." (89)
Some scholars believe the entire play is a comment on the art of the theater. You could see the Old Man as a version of Ionesco himself. Like a playwright, he hopes to use words to communicate meaning to an intended audience.
Old Man: "It's not I who's going to speak, I've hired a professional orator, he'll speak in my name, you see." (123)
The fact that the Old Man has hired someone to speak for him makes him even more like a playwright. Instead of standing up and delivering his message himself, he's given the job to someone else. This closely resembles the way playwrights craft plays, to be spoken by actors rather than themselves.
Stage Direction: "the chairs, turned towards the dais, with their backs to audience, form regular rows, each one longer as in a theater" (318)
This stage direction seems to be a big hint that the entire play is a comment on the art of the theater. Ionesco says the chairs should be set up "as in a theater" (318). It's like the audience is looking into a mirror of sorts. The audience has come to watch Ionesco's play, while the invisible guests have come to hear the Old Man's infamous message.