Exit the King


Eugene Ionesco trans Donald Watson

Published by Samuel French Ltd

3 Male 3 Female

The world is in a terrible conflagration, and the prognosis is that the king will not live out the day. A great fault has riven the earth; the sun has diminished, and snow has fallen on its northern pole. The king does not want to die, fights desperately against the inevitable truth

He who once had control of life and nature, who ordered men beheaded and ordered thunderbolts from on high, who had, in short, operated outside the law, now finds himself within the inevitable truths of that law. He recognizes himself as "a honeycomb of cavities" rotting to death

His death is that of civilizations: "Thousands and millions: I am the dying agony of all. Many worlds will flicker out in me." He is relieved of his impediments and weapons, and sits waiting at the end for either obliteration or a Platonic return to his source

"The imagination itself is original, bizarre, powerful" ~ N.Y. Times

"The most moving of all Ionesco's plays and, if only from the width of its sympathies. It is incomparably his greatest work" ~ N.Y. Times

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