by Eugene Ionesco
The Chairs Mortality 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: "Where is she? My mamma."
Old Woman: "In heavenly paradise...she hears you, she sees you, among the flowers."
Old Man: "That's not even true-ue...she can't see me..." (85-87)
Is the Old Man rejecting the idea that his mother is in Heaven, or that she can see him? Many Absurdist plays reject the notion of an afterlife, but this doesn't necessarily seem to be the case here. Perhaps the Old Man thinks that once the dead have passed on, they are no longer aware of the world of the living. Then again, it could be that he thinks there is no afterlife.
Old Man: "I'll have plenty of time to take it easy in my grave." (190)
This statement seems to go along with the idea that the work of our lives is what gives us meaning. You could interpret this as a rejection of the idea that there's any sort of reward for us in the afterlife (if there even is an afterlife). It's what we do with our time on earth that matters.
Old Man: "perhaps the flowers are budding again beneath the snow!" (250)
Snow is often used as a metaphor for old age and death, whereas flowers represent vitality and life. The Old Man seems to hope here that he can regain a bit of his youthful vigor at the end of his life. This late blooming will presumably come in the form of his message to the world.