German Expressionism In Friedrich Durrenmatt's The Visit

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Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s The Visit, is a play set in the small, run-down town of Güllen. When Claire Zachanassian, a rich, former resident of Güllen comes to visit, she offers its citizens some much needed funds in exchange for the head of one of their most loved neighbours, Ill. She calls it justice for the perjury Ill committed so many decades ago, however, thanks to the desperation of the town, it leads to the corruption required for such an act to be carried out. This, in the end, was the moral of the story that Dürrenmatt was expressing. He employs several techniques of German Expressionism in his play in order to emphasize the corruptibility of both humanity and justice. German Expressionism often stressed important ‘lessons’ and, in his play, Dürrenmatt uses expressionist techniques in his stagecraft, writing style and the distorted reality of the setting to emphasize this lesson. Dürrenmatt’s description of the stagecraft within his play reflect principal methods used in German Expressionism. In German Expressionism, the scenery is left ambiguous as to not define a specific location. Durrenmatt’s describes the stage scenery as “sketchily drawn” (Duerrenmatt, 1) and “just a bare indication” (36) which create the image of a faint, anonymously portrayed town. This means that Dürrenmatt is giving the illusion of a commonplace that could be anywhere in Europe which highlights his idea that corruptibility plagues everyone. In other words, the location is not exact as to

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