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The Lesson (Eugene Ionesco)

 Maula Akhadin
A.    320080 273
The Lesson (Eugene Ionesco)

The LeThe Lesson (French: La Lecon) is a one-act play by Eugene Ionesco. It was first performed in 1951 in a production directed by Marcel Cuvelier (who also played the Professor). Claude Mansard played the Maid and Rosette Zuchelli played the Pupil in that production. Since 1957 it has been in permanent production at Paris' Theatre de la Huchette, on an Ionesco double-bill with The Bald Soprano. The play has been regarded as an important work of what some critics have called the "Theatre of the Absurd." 

            The setting of this story mostly is lesson situation between the professor and his pupil.
The Theme
The theme on this play is man between man and society. This play, by Ionesco is a drama that satirizes totalitarianism in education, politics, language, psychology, and sexuality. The end is really the beginning and the inevitable play of wits between youth and age, power and manipulation is staged over and over again as a part of the game of life itself
The play is set in the study of a professor who tutors one student at a time. The way that he teaches these doctorate students proceeds in a manner that becomes completely stifling and controlling. He talks nonsense and expects the student to verbalize what he wants them to say. He eventually kills the student. The maid, a central character in the play continues to warn him not to proceed yet she helps him clean up his mess.

The characters
-    Professor, The Professor is associated as the cleverest and the highest. He is 50 to 60 years old. He is an aggressive person, excessively polite, very timid, his voice deadened by his timidity.
-     The young pupil aged 18. She is a rich person, and fool person but she is attractive.  
-    The Maid, aged 45 to 50. She is stout, patient, red faced. She is always pay attention to the professor.

The young pupil is eager to learn and she dominates the professor with her confidence and youth, but as the story develops.  Even more she is suffering from the professor’s voice and explanation, such as toothache, earache, headache and eyes ache. The maid, Marie, always warns the professor about his “health” and calamity that might happen. Unfortunately the professor, instead of listening to his maid, ignores her every time she warns him. The maid warns him when the professor explains about philology, and again, the professor ignores her. The maid also warns the professor again when he starts asking about ‘knife’ in different languages, but the maid is already tired to warn him. In the end of the play, the professor kills the pupil with an imaginative knife and with the help of his maid he could get rid of her corpse and then the stage is set again with another young pupil who is ready for the lesson. And it is fortieth times his killed.         

  the message and moral value

The story in Ionesco’s The Lesson is a portrayal of nowadays status versus control. In specific terms the ‘professor’ is associated as the cleverest and the highest. Besides, from the progress of the play, the professor underestimates the pupil, who is clever, eager and enthusiastic to learn. in this play the professor is insane. His explanation does not make sense at all when he explains about philology. It seems bizarre when they discussed the subtraction the pupil suddenly becomes stupid, while in fact she is very clever in multiplication.
 From this play, we can see a portrayal of status and control as seen in Indonesia Many professors underestimate their pupils and consider them as people who are ignorant, too much confident and always to parade their knowledge. Meanwhile, the professor himself, in fact, does not make sense and ignorant, too. This is seen from his explanation in philology and how he ignores his maid every time she warns him. In the end, the ‘professor’ kills the ‘pupil’ with his imaginative knife. This kind of phenomenon is also seen in Indonesia. One might remember the advertisement of a cigarette which employs a long memorable phrase: Belum tua, belum boleh bicara. This phenomenon keeps on happening, keeps on being unsolved, and we can do nothing about it.
Its also reminds us to control our emotion when we are in difficult situations and stay calm, not to underestimate to other people, and be open-minded person.

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