Alienation As The Reason For Berenger 's Resistance Essay

1278 Words Dec 16th, 2016 6 Pages
Differing from Kafka, Ionesco uses the theme of alienation as the reason for Berenger’s resistance, in Rhinoceros. Alcoholism is a major cause of his alienation, in Act Three, Berenger considers alcohol as the reason for his isolation and subsequent inability to transform. When conversing with Dudard, he says ‘[A]lcohol is good for epidemics. It immunizes you … Jean never touched alcohol. He just pretended to. Maybe that’s why he… perhaps that explains his attitude’ (Ionesco 1960: 76). This insinuates that Berenger understands why he does not transform into rhinoceros, identifying his own alienation. ‘Only his drinking serves to inoculate him from this epidemic and from the side effect of this epidemic, the powerful loneliness inherent in being the only one to resist’ (Quinney 2007: 48). The argument that Berenger alienates himself through alcohol to escape from conformity, can be paralleled with Gregor’s self-alienation through his metamorphosis. Showing how both Kafka and Ionesco self-alienate their protagonists, except Kafka does this through the transformation into an animal, and Ionesco does this by resisting transformation. In addition, Berenger does not take much consideration of first rhinoceros: ‘[The noise of the rhinoceros and its trumpeting are now far away; the people are still staring after the animal, all except Berenger who is still apathetically seated]’ (Ionesco 1960: 10). Berenger’s detachment from society makes him unable to react to the absurdist…

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