The Chairs
The Chairs
by Eugene Ionesco

The Chairs Analysis

Literary Devices in The Chairs

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The Old Man and Old Woman's house is surrounded by stagnant water. We detect symbolism. The fact that the water is stagnant could represent the way in which the elderly couple's lives have stalled....

Setting

The Chairs is set in the house of the Old Man and Old Woman. The crazy thing about this particular house is that it's surrounded by stagnant water as far as the eye can see. The fact that the water...

Genre

Well, the play is definitely a drama, because, you know...it's a play, a piece of literature meant to be spoken by actors in front a live audience. We also think it qualifies as a tragicomedy. Ione...

Tone

The Chairs is in many ways scathingly satirical, skewering the idea that human beings have some greater purpose in life. When the Old Man's dreams all come to nothing at the end of the play, we're...

What's Up With the Title?

The Chairs takes its name from the chairs that the Old Man and Old Woman set up for their invisible guests. The way these chairs are arranged is perhaps intended to remind the audience of the seats...

What's Up With the Ending?

The very last moment of The Chairs does nothing but raise questions. After failing to deliver the Old Man's message, the frustrated Orator exits. At this point, Ionesco tells us in his stage direct...

Tough-o-Meter

OK, so a lot of this play may seem like nonsense. The characters talk about all kinds of random stuff for apparently random reasons. This can make The Chairs seem more than a little mysterious at t...

Plot Analysis

The Old Man and Old Woman are stuck in the same old cycle.At the beginning of the play, the Old Man and Woman are doing what they apparently do every evening. They hang out in their house, which is...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy and Comedy

The Chairs is often labeled a tragic farce. This seems pretty accurate when you look at it from Booker's point of view. The play has structural similarities to both tragedy and comedy:The Old Man p...

Three Act Plot Analysis

The Old Man and Old Woman are hanging out in their house telling nonsensical stories. The Old Man claims that he has a message for the world. The act peaks as we learn that tons of people are showi...

Trivia

Ionesco was middle-aged by the time he started writing plays. (Source)Among other jobs, Ionesco worked as a translator, French teacher, and cultural attaché. (Source)Ionesco's father wanted hi...

Steaminess Rating

There's no sex in The Chairs. At one point, the Old Woman gets frisky with the invisible Photo-engraver, but that's about it. Other than that, the play stays safely in the PG range.

Allusions

Stan Laurel (31)

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