Many remember the wonderful children's fairy tale "The Blue Bird". However, what is perceived as a fairy tale for children, in fact was written as a parable for adults. Its author was the famous writer from Belgium Maurice Maeterlinck. In addition to the "Bluebird", his pen owned many other interesting works. The most symbolic of them is the play "The Blind".
The writer was born in the family of a Belgian notary in August 1862. It was customary in the family to speak French, which is why the author wrote most of his works in this language in the future.
When the boy turned fourteen, he was sent to study at the Jesuit College. The study contributed to the development of Maeterlinck's desire to engage in literature, and on the other hand formed the ardent anti-clerical position of the author.
After college, the young man took up the study of jurisprudence. In his spare time he wrote poetry and prose. Despite the fact that his father insisted on the career of a lawyer, he helped the young man publish the first collection of poetry "Greenhouse". A year later he published the play "La Princesse Maleine" and subsequently concentrates on writing plays by Maurice Maeterlinck.
"Blind", "Unsolicited," "Peleas and Milisande" are the next well-known plays by the writer. They glorified their creator not only in Belgium and France, but also throughout the world. The works of this period are considered the most successful. This is due to the fact that in subsequent years the writer is fond of symbolism, his late plays are excessively overcrowded with mysticism.
In 1909 in France with success put the play "Blue Bird". And two years later he received the Nobel Prize for Literature Maurice Maeterlinck. "Blind", "Blue Bird", "Peleas and Milisande" and several other famous plays by the author helped to achieve this prestigious award for the writer.
With the outbreak of the First World War, Maeterlinck began to touch on the topic of war in his work ("Burgomaster Stilmond").
In the twenties, the writer is increasingly interested in the occult, while the works of this period are full of biblical motifs. Gradually, Maeterlinck wrote essays instead of plays.
When the writer turned 50 King of Belgium Albert I granted him the title of Count.
Since the beginning of World War II, the writer has emigrated to the United States, but returned to Europe in 1947. Two years later Maurice Maeterlinck died in Nice because of a heart attack.
Maeterlinck's play "The Blind": The History of Creation
From the middle of the nineteenth century, the church began to lose influence on society. It was connected with desperate attempts to maintain control over science and culture. Most scientists and artists were believers, but because of the church's active attempts to interfere roughly with their work, anti-clerical moods grew among them.
While still at the Jesuit College, Maurice Maeterlinck became negative about many ideas of the church. The "blind" (play) was written under the influence of her author's observations for the loss of the influence of the church in society. Maeterlinck believed that the church was already too "old" to lead, but if it was not replaced by another institution, society was doomed.
In 1890 this play was published, and a year later was staged in the "Theater of Art" by Paul For. In Russian, it was translated only four times after the publication. And in 1904, in one of the Moscow theaters, she was put together with several other short plays by Maeterlinck.
One of the protagonists of the play made the silent dead priest Maeterlinck. The blind, surrounding his body, throughout the play characterize him, letting him know how important role he played in their lives.
Another important hero is a baby - a child of a blinded man. He is the only one able to see, but because of such a young age is not yet able to become a guide for others.
Young blind - a beautiful young girl who grew up in a place with picturesque nature, but later lost her sight. Despite her mutilation, she continues to love beauty. The girl is charming and, despite the fact that all the surrounding men are blind, they all sympathize with her. Although she does not see anything, however her eyes are still alive and with proper treatment she will soon be able to see clearly.
The oldest woman among the blind is also the most rational. Also the oldest blind man is judicious.
Three blind men - one of the most unhappy heroes. They have no memories of the beauty of the world, since they have never seen it. They constantly resent and criticize others. The blind men complain that the priest did not speak to them, but later it turns out that they themselves do not want to listen to him.
Three old blind women, unlike the young blind, are completely inactive. They resigned themselves to their fate. Whatever happens, she continues to pray.
Also in the play there are two more blind men, but they are not particularly active.
In total there are eight heroes in the Blind: six blind men (three blind, one old and two ordinary blind), six blind women (three prayers, old, young and crazy), a dead priest and a sighted child.
Maeterlinck "Blind": a summary
The play tells about a shelter for the blind, in which the sighted only an elderly priest (died at the very beginning of the play) and decrepit nuns. Recently there was a doctor there, but he died earlier, which is why the priest was worried because he was sick and had a presentiment of his own death. Shortly before it, he collects all the blind and leads for a walk around the island. However, he becomes ill and, saying goodbye to the beautiful young blind, he dies.
However, the blind do not notice the death of their guide, and believing that he will soon return for them, waiting for his return. Over time, they begin to worry and communicate with each other. Reflecting and complaining about the behavior of the priest (envious blind people), and also remembering the past, the blind gradually lose hope for his return.
Soon comes the shelter dog and thanks to her the blind learn that the priest died. Reflecting on how to get out, the blind begin to feel that someone is touching them. Soon they hear someone's footsteps and a young blind man takes in the hands of a sighted child, hoping that he will see who is coming. However, as the unknown person approaches, the child cries more and more.
Symbolism of the "Blind"
At the time of writing the play was carried away by the philosophy of symbolism Maurice Maeterlinck. The "blind" (a short summary above) are full of characters.
First of all, this is the death that surrounds the blind. It symbolizes the ocean not far off.
Also symbolized by a lighthouse, the inhabitants of which see perfectly, but do not look in the direction of the blind (the symbol of science).
Another symbol is the old sighted nuns of the orphanage, who are aware that they, knowing about the loss of their wards, will not go looking for them. Here Maeterlinck describes the contemporary attitude of the church to the flock. Despite the vocation cares and protects the "blind" wards, many priests simply ignore their problems.
Blind heroes are humanity, which in the past centuries has found its way through faith (church).
But now faith died and people lost themselves in the dark. They are looking for the road, but are not able to find it on their own. Someone comes to the blind at the end of the play, but because of the open ending it is not known whether it is a new conductor who wants to help unhappy people or a cruel murderer.
Despite the fact that some interpret the end of the play as the death of mankind, for many, the arrival of the unknown symbolizes hope. The cry of a sighted child, perhaps, means not fear, but joy or a call to a stranger (a stranger) for help.
Importance for culture
Many readers liked the image of a man who lost faith in the image of the blind without a guide, as Maeterlinck introduced them. "Blind" (analysis and symbols of the play above) influenced the contemporaries of the writer and descendants. The well-known philosopher Nicholas Roerich, after staging the play in Moscow, drew an ink in black and white illustrations for the play.
The idea of Maeterlinck to portray society as a group of blind people prompted Jose Saramago to write the novel "The Blindness", the plot of which in 2008 was shot the film of the same name.
More than one hundred years have passed since the writing of the play "The Blind". During these years, many cataclysms and events occurred in the society. However, today, like a hundred years ago, humanity continues to behave as blind in the hope of finding a guide. So the work of Maeterlinck continues to be relevant.