Eugene Ionesco

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Eugene Ionesco 1912-1994 Eugene Ionesco was born to a Romanian lawyer and a French beauty on November 26, 1912. Having lost one child to meningitis, Eugene quickly became the favorite of his parents. His mother let him get away with misbehaving, as did his father. However his sister Regine was not so lucky and later was sent to live in a children's home for most of her youth. While living with his parents Ionesco witnessed the deterioration of his family. His parent's marriage began to fail after his mother tried to kill herself because his father callously derided her constantly. Thus began a serious hatred for his father that would last a lifetime. His parents soon after separated and Ionesco's father abandoned his family in Paris. His mother was then forced to go work in a factory to sustain her family. Unfortunately Ionesco's health deteriorated and he became anemic and was sent to live with his sister to recuperate.

There he began reading the great works by Flaubert and by the age of ten starting to write his own literature. His first works were patriotic, but later in life his patriotic feelings would change. He instead wrote a play in which the children of the story devised a plan to get rid of their parents by throwing them out of a window. It would be his first example of Absurdist genre.

Two years later Ionesco was sent back to his mother and they moved back to Romania to try and repair his parent's marriage. Upon arriving she discovered her husband had secretly divorced her and was living with a woman named Lola. (Lola was a showgirl!) His mother was forced to relinquish custody of Ionesco to her husband and return to Paris. The children were eventually forced to join her, but would not receive the alimony their wealthy father owed.

Ionesco's father believed in the State, no matter what it represented. As far as he was concerned, the minute a party took over the party was the right one. This is how he came to be an Iron Guard, a Freemason Democrat, and a Stalinist. Ionesco strongly disagreed with his father's submissiveness to government and published writings against the Romanian army to spite his father. Ionesco decided that all opposition to the State was positive, the military was negative, that God might not exist, and that men cruelly control and use women. He was eventually arrested and convicted for his writings, but continued to defy his father throughout his life. After a violent political argument between he and his father Ionesco told him "It is better to be on the side of the Jews than to be a stupid idiot, my regards to you sir," and then left. A few years later his father died and Ionesco would forever feel guilty.

Ionesco believed that freedom could only be obtained by existing outside of history. Therefore he felt a theatre audience obtains freedom and enlightenment by existing outside the action of the play. His works consisted of two major themes; first, the difficulty of communication, and then the lack of absolutes. This became the basis for Theatre of the Absurd, as is seen in "The Lesson". He believed true communication was completely impossible. I believe this was a reflection of the lack of communication that brought the downfall of his family. His works demonstrated his life through the art of language and communication.

Works Cited Coe, Richard N. Ionesco. Barnes and Noble Inc. New York, NY. 1965.

Raines, Robert A. Modern Drama and Social Change. New College of California. Pretince-Hall Inc. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. 1972.

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