Eugène Ionesco: Le Roi se meurt [The King is Dying/Exit the King]

(1535 words)
  • Edward Forman (University of Bristol)

Eugène Ionesco’s Le Roi se meurt [literally The King is Dying, often translated as Exit the King] was first performed at the Alliance française in Paris on 15 December 1962, directed by Jacques Mauclair. Whilst retaining many of the features associated with the Theatre of the Absurd, it is a serious and challenging reflection on the inevitability of death, and an investigation into the reactions of a powerful leader and his entourage as he comes to terms with his own end. Set in an imaginary realm with an imaginary king, it combines symbolism with realism, comedy and tragedy, in a sometimes disconcerting way.

The name Bérenger, given to the king, was frequently used by Ionesco to represent an Everyman …

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Forman, Edward. "Le Roi se meurt". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 January 2012
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]