Ubu Roi Criticism

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When actor Firmin Gernier stepped forward and spoke his opening line as Pere Ubu "Merdre!" (often translated as "Shitter!") the audience erupted. Some would say the controversy still rages. What those who study late-nineteenth century theater do agree on is that Jarry attacked theatrical realism head-on and things just haven't been the same since.

Brian E. Rainey in an essay in the Wascana Review noted that" Ubu is at once a commentary on and a revolt against the world in which Jarry lived." Anarchy, greed, corruption, and cowardice all play prominent roles in Ubu Roi. Pere Ubu seeks to destroy everything; he holds nothing sacred. Jarry provided the prototype for much of what would come to be known in the future as a Brechtian or "alienation effect." Pere Ubu may speak en Francais, but his vices are not exclusively French. He has achieved real universality.

Many critics have...

(read more from the Critical Overview section)

This section contains 416 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Ubu Roi Study Guide
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Ubu Roi from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.