A play within a plot

When reading the section in Chapter Three on “The Courier’s Tragedy”, I found myself being split on its interpretation. They spend almost 10 whole pages on just retelling the plot with an occasional comment from Oedipa about how it reminds her of her life, so it would seem like it either reflects the plot or is otherwise significant; however, the director of the play rants against trying to find significance in the story, especially against analyzing the written version of it. The plot prior to this point felt convoluted, however the play within the story was seemingly designed to be extremely convoluted, and once again it brings up the question of relevance. Is it’s extremely complex and convoluted plot an indicator of deeper themes or does its parody like feel and needlessly deliberate confusion indicate that it shouldn’t be deeply analyzed as it is intentionally vague. In terms of character, are the characters within the play supposed to be merely characters, or are they supposed to be people in that universe, since Driblette’s reaction to the mere mention of Trystero’s name is extreme and the reaction to the name, the “aura of ritual reluctance here, offstage, as he had on” (62) mean that he has significance for the characters in the book and not just the characters within the play within the book?

1 Comment

  1. I, too, was confused by the play within a play because of the inability to interpret its significance/purpose/contribution to the novel. I was struggling to keep up with this chapter. From what Mr. Fallopian was telling them and then all of a sudden, Metzger’s actor-lawyer friends shows up and afterwards they go to a play that feels as though it should be significant but I can’t seem to comprehend the meaning.
    Director Driblette even warns them (us) that this isn’t meant to be interpreted, but it’s hard to know whether or not to take Driblette at face value since the plot seems so packed with drama that the actions/characters must mean something. They must exist beyond the world of the play.
    Before the play even starts, the name of the theatre troupe- Tank Players- feels like it was named that for a reason. It made me think that either the actors were really bad (they would tank) or that they did more military or battle-related plays (which feels a lot more apt after reading what the play was about).

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