Dissecting The Le Dieu du carnage by Yasmina Reza – Part 2


Yasmina Reza a French Playwright, novelist, actress, and screenwriter is prominent for her plays, and many of her satiric plays have reflected the middle-class issues. Carnage is also a comedy play featuring two sets of parents meeting over a fight their sons had in a public setting. This plot is turned effectively by Yasmina into a situation where the gloves come off, and the parents expose their frailties causing wreckage. The drawing room becomes a place for an ideological battle between barbarity and civilization. Reza suggests that ‘The God of Carnage’ is deep in our biology that though we may be polite, at times our real side is exposed at some point. The point of view of the play is that it is an exciting drama proposition and the cast of the performances are tantamount.

The Characters

The play lasts for 90 minutes with, Yasmina, the playwright, creating her masterpiece. The characters in this play are commendable featuring:

  • Veronique Houllie (Veronica in American productions)
  • Michel Houllie (Michael in American productions)
  • Annette Reille
  • Alain Reille (Alan in American productions)

Veronique Houllie

Initially, this character appears compassionate among the four. She does not resort to litigation about the injury of her son and believes in arriving at an agreement that the boys should make amends. Veronique among the four reveals the strongest desire for harmony.  She is writing a book about Darfur atrocities

, so she is trying to live by example. Her flaws are being judgmental. She tries to instill shame in Alain and Annette Reille so that they regret the actions of their son. However, in forty minutes, Veronique decides they are terrible parents, and yet all through the play, she attempts to keep her façade of civility.

Michel Houllie

Michel is eager to create peace between boys and to bond with the Reilles. He agrees with the Reilles, commenting on being a leader of his gang during childhood. With the progress of the conversation, Michel also displays his uncouth nature. He accuses child-raising as a grueling and wasteful experience. He also speaks about the controversial action of his daughter’s hamster and owing to his fear; he released the pet in the streets. This disturbed the adults, and the play comes to an end as he receives a phone call from his daughter crying for the loss of her pet.

Annette Reille

Ferdinand’s mother is on the verge of a panic attack. She vomits twice during the play. She wants resolution like Veronique and believes communication could soothe the situation. Motherhood pressures have eroded her self-confidence. Annette is destructive among the four and smashes the vase in frustration at the play’s end. She defends the violent actions of her child saying Ferdinand was provoked verbally.

Alain Reille

Alain is openly rude as he frequently talks on his cell phone. He agrees his son is a savage. Alain in some ways has honest characters. He also is a sexist among the two men and implies that women have an array of limitations. Even when Annette and Veronique claim people must show compassion, Allain becomes philosophical and comments that individuals will reveal self-interest.

Men vs. Women

The conflict between Houllies and the Rellies is interwoven. Both the female and male characters make disparaging claims or snide comments. Eventually, each one turns on the other so much that by the end of the play everyone is isolated emotionally.

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