Le demoniaque dans le theatre de Paul Claudel. (French text);

Andre Beauzethier, Fordham University


This dissertation is a study of the nature and function of the demonic in the theater of Paul Claudel. The plays studied were those published in 1901 under the title of l'Arbre. We followed the demonic being gradually exorcised, dislodged, cast out from the individual. The introduction deals with the events which brought about the interior struggle lived by the poet, and offers a definition of the demonic. Chapter One (Tete d'Or) shows how the hero is attracted and misled by satanical forces. He looks within himself to fulfill a violent need for happiness, and ends up by rejecting God and dying a pagan. Chapter Two (la Ville) studies the behavior of individuals for whom happiness appears unattainable. Hampered by original sin, they are unable to see which way leads to divine joy. Evil puts them on the right track and they finally turn toward God. Chapter Three (la Jeune Fille Violaine) outlines the relationship between two sisters: Violaine and Bibiane (Mara), showing how the latter, entirely dominated by demonic forces, leads the former to sainthood. Chapter Four demonstrates that the conflict depicted in l'Echange is, as in the preceding dramas, an exteriorization of the struggle of the poet torn between two contradictory calls. The victory of Marthe, a protagonist entirely submitted to God, is the victory of the divine over the demonic. Chapter Five (le Repos du Septieme Jour) portrays demonic forces now outside the individual: they have been exorcised, defeated. The hero brings salvation to his people, becomes a monk, and makes a total gift of himself to the Creator. The Sixth and last chapter compares the first and second versions of Tete d'Or, la Ville, and la Jeune Fille Violaine, and underlines the spiritual evolution of the author as well as a slight weakening of those demonic forces trying to bind man to this world.

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Recommended Citation

Beauzethier, Andre, "Le demoniaque dans le theatre de Paul Claudel. (French text);" (1989). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8917231.