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The Chairs

The Chairs

by Eugene Ionesco

Time Theme

The theme of time is an important one in The Chairs. There are many hints in the play that time is cyclical. Characters quite often end up where they began or at least are doomed to repeat the same actions over and over again until they die. You see this sort of thing a lot in other Absurdist plays as well. Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, which was produced the same year as The Chairs, is a typical example. The Absurdists were interested in the notion that our lives aren't linear progressions toward anything; instead, they are endless loops that spiral meaninglessly toward death. (Bummer.)

Questions About Time

  1. In what ways can time be seen as cyclical in the play?
  2. What effect does memory have on the characters' perception of time?
  3. Does the play seem to suggest that time is real or an illusion?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The play expresses the idea that time is an absurd illusion created by man.

The characters in the play are trapped in a time loop and are doomed to repeat the same actions over and over.

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