Essay: Shoemakers -- a Philosophical Approach

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[. . .] This shows the true nature of man, that the worldly desires capture him so badly that at the end he becomes a slave to his own desires turning himself into an animal who is never satisfied and always wants more, hence to stop his madness he should be locked up into a cage where he does not harm others or himself (Gerould. 1968).

The existence of human beings in this sarcastically comedy has been shown as solely being reduced to the mundane things in life that we do which is eating, reading, talking, messing around and then finally going to sleep to wake up and do the same things as the day before "there is no such thing as humanity-there is only worms in the cheese, which is a heap of worms itself" as it appropriately put in the play (Gerould. 1974). As man is shown addicted to various intoxicating drugs like cocaine and heroin, it is shown that that one day they will become so common that they will have no effect on man what so ever and he will always want more. Hence the only thing left for a person to look forward in his life and boredom and "more mounting up boredom" making a human being nothing but an insect, who is powerless and meaningless to its own existence and who most of the times ends up eating himself.

The Depiction of Humanity and Society

The shoemaker's portrays the different factors and aspect related to class, human behavior, human relationships and the art of communication. It shows how the world is willingly running towards complete and utter uselessness at a shockingly fast speed. The topic of humanity is a continuous debate throughout the play, its viability is constantly questioned and at the end is shown to be lost, hence the human dwelling in this world are heartless and their "hearts is on the tray" out in the open for anyone better to eat it up or throw it away. The rulers are shown to be nothing but insects that have been reduced to their own "excrementalia" of their own generation and the one before them.

The play also discovers the lost importance of language and communication, that human perception of language has only been reduced to answering what has been asked of them, the feelings and expressions that a language possess are shown to be long gone. In the duration of the play Witkacy his own self and his ability to write, also, he includes the audience in this humor as well by calling them "son of a bitch" audience numerous times throughout the play. Sajetan often calls the audience: the idiotic public" an attempt to make people see that the play is all about them. One time the apprentice blames them for their "lousy taste." However ridiculing the audience is not the sole purpose of the play, throughout the play Witkacys makes fun of certain elements existing within the society for instance, he makes fun of the various theatrical conventions by quoting directly from various famous plays and speaking in the French dialect, he also exploits erotic novels. To light things up he mocks his own director and the actors with phrases like "how to show that on stage."

The Bourgeoisie Element

To represent the bourgeoisie culture of our society, Witkacy has chosen each of his characters and given them one element or the other of hypocrisy and false nature, instance, the lawyer is shown to have a perverted nature hence depicting that the justice system is not safe for anyone and its foundations too have become weak. Then comes the duchess who has a never ending thirst and lust for men and likes it when she's is being watched while she is in the middle of a carnal contact, this represent the immoral and shallow nature of the aristocratic class. Then there is confusing amalgamation of the death of art in relation to the working and lower class.

This has been done by portraying the real responsibility of making shoes is of the working class not of the peasants or the shoemakers as it is shown in the play. This also means that the world has lost its creative gifts and the only thing left in relation to arts is the making of shoes, the apathy of the situation is shown when in the beginning of the play, everyone is amazed at the creation of the boot, hence representing the only shard of art left in the world. Unlike other Witkacys plays the "artist" does not reveal himself at all, however, the artisan or the shoemakers with their creation of the boot represent how apathetic art has become and gone are the days when a true artistic creation was mystical or philosophical, now it is just the boot.

The commonalities of the society for instance rape and the sexual hunger in a man are the central theme of the play. The in triangular theory, sexuality takes the centre stage in this play, as one can see in the play that while in the attempt to rape the duchess the three shoemakers and Scurvy pain the picture of the hunger of sex, lust and desire each class represents towards the other just for the sake of existence. So the message from this is that apart from fact that no one can be expected to honest and innocent or to be able to be in the various relationships in life that require meaning, love and true and honest feelings, that should be completely ignored and the only way of communication hence which is left is to rape one another so that everyone's dirty secrets remain hidden and hence everyone's silence is bought. This way Witkacy has shown the pathological sickness that dwells each person's mind, which if provoked has the potential to degrade and destroy human relationship and divide people into class systems (Dukore. 1995).

Conclusion

Although the shoemakers was written way before the second world war, it portrays the exact problems the world suffered once the war hit and the post world history, with catchy phrases like "one foot in the grave" not only does Witkacy describe man political inability to lead but also exploits each and every societal realm and literature world for the defects it posses.

Reference

Dukore, Bernard F. "Spherical Tragedies and Comedies w I t h Corpses: WI t k a c I a n Tragicomedy." Modem Drama, Volume XVIII, number 3, September 1975.

Gerould, Daniel C. "The Playwright as a Child: The Witkievvicz Childhood Plays." Yale / Theatre, volume 5, number 3. 1974

Gerould, Daniel C. And C.S. Durer (trans.). Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, The Madman and the Nun and Other -Plays. Seattle and London: 1968.

Gerould, Daniel C. (ed.). Twentieth-Century Polish Avant-Garde Drama. Ithaca: 1977.

Gerould, Daniel C. Witkacy, Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz as an Imaginative Writer. Seattle: 1981… [END OF PREVIEW]

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