The Theater and Its Double Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is the meaning behind the title of "The Theater and Its Double"?

The book establishes a relationship between theater and life (reality). In Artaud's mind, theater and reality are two entities that live in separate spheres and as such, they double each other (hence the title of the book).

2. What does Artaud write of civilization and culture in his Preface?

Artaud compares culture to civilization, concluding that they are but two words to designate a single action. Culture is essentially mistaken because it confuses words and things, in the same way that civilization has lost its way by confusing acts and ideas. Culture should be a way to both understand and practice life itself, merging instead of separating both functions.

3. What does Artaud say in reference to totems in his Preface?

Culture should be a way to extract life out of the cultural objects it provides. The objects should be to the civilized man what totems were to primitive civilizations. As with totems, there are forces that are beyond the simple cultural objects that we enjoy statically.

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