The Misunderstanding- Albert Camus.
“The Misunderstanding” Is a play written by Albert Camus. The play mainly revolves around the lives of Martha and her mother who run an inn. The other characters involved in the play are Jan, the long lost son who decides to come back home, Jan’s wife Maria and the old man who is a helper at the inn. The play later unfolds to reveal that both Martha and her mother rob and murder their rich customers in order to get out of the country and move to Africa where they intend to start a new life. Due to this desire, the accidently end up killing Jan, without realizing that he is a part of their own family.
One of the major character developments seen in the misunderstanding was that of Martha’s mother. Initially the mother used to assist her daughter in committing the crime by disposing the body but in the being of the play she is shown as tired of both, the crimes committed by her and her daughter as well life in general. There is the constant mentioning about how she would just like to finally rest after it was all over. Moreover, the mother did not wish to kill Jan even though she didn’t know that he was her son. This shows that she had reached such a point in her life where she no longer dreamed of leaving to another land and had already accepted her fate. It is evident that had grown tired of life and was searching for an excuse to give up on everything. So when she found out that she was responsible for her son’s murder, she quite willingly used that as the excuse to commit suicide, potraying it in such way to make it seems as if the loss of her child was something she truly couldn’t bear.
Martha on the other hand was a very cold and distant personality. She portrays herself as very hostile towards her brother, suggesting that it was that manner in which she behaved with most of her guest. She did not entertain him questioning her and suggested that he maintain his distance on multiple occasions. These character traits could be du e to various reasons like the loss of two male figures in the house, causing the burden to fall squarely on Martha’s shoulders since she was young. The loss of her youth in order to support her mother, exposure to killing in order to fulllfil her dreams. Since it is suggested that there were many more victims before Jan, it is very likely that murder had made her devoid of emotion and vigorously goal oriented. This is seen when she is having a final conversation with Jan before he consumed the poisoned beverage where he mentions Africa, the place she desires to visit. Those talks pushed her to kill him in order to make herself happy. Martha is also seen as a loyal and faithful daughter. Besides the hardships faced by her mother, Martha always stood by her. Hence when her mother decides to give up on life after Jan’s death., Martha is seen displaying emotions like anger as well as pain since her mother chooses her dead son over her loyal daughter. Although this outburst of emotion is very short lived as she calmly tells Maria, Jan’s life about the murder. Even though she is confessing a crime she is calm and talks about the aspects of death as if it were nothing. Martha is a complex character accepts the fact that she has no emotions or even a soul (conscience in this case)
Jan’s character is seen as a bit naïve and emotional character. He keeps trying to engage his sister into conversations much to her disdain.
Maria, Jan’s wife initial comes across as a clingy woman, refusing to let her husband go. She is also seen as straightforward since she kept insisting that Jan just tell them the truth. On hearing the news of Jan’s death, Maria loses control and lashes out at her “sister-in law”. She is seen having outburst of anger pain and even hysteria. The final character, the old man is a suspicious one since his motives still remain unclear. The Misunderstanding overall is a beautiful written play about love, dreams, despair and deceit.