A Thousand Clowns Themes

Herb Gardner
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Self-concept and Selfishness

When Sandra discovers that Murray has been offered two jobs but has not accepted either of them, she expresses her disappointment in a line that expresses the play's central question: "Maybe you're wonderfully independent, Murray, or maybe, maybe you're the most extraordinarily selfish person I've ever met." The line between self-awareness and self-centeredness is the line that Murray must establish as he moves through the play, and it is this line that determines whether other characters find Murray enchanting or exasperating.

Murray is not close to many people. He is not married and seems to have no friends. He dates many women, but none for long. His sister Elaine is in Europe. His brother Arnold is kind and loyal, but Arnold's relationship with Murray seems entirely one-sided. Nick is a twelve-year-old boy. In Murray's eyes, he is independent and free, with no one telling him what...

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This section contains 870 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Thousand Clowns Study Guide
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Drama for Students
A Thousand Clowns from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.