Fatality in Cocteau's La machine infernale
Cocteau personifies the gods, "les dieux infernaux", implying they are capricious beings with no feeling whatsoever of humanity and compassion. The importance of this concept to an understanding of the play is emphasised by Cocteau's choice of epigraph: "Les dieux existent: c'est le diable ". Oxenhandler interprets it that "the world is a thought in the mind of a perhaps nonexistent God". The gods, the universe, destiny, is in charge. This concept of fate and the gods will be addressed in chapter one, as will in chapter two the question of time as a force of the gods, working against humanity. Cocteau's choice of a mythical framework to express the theme of fatality will be examined in chapter three. Fatality leads to the question of liberty: if one's life is wound up like a spring waiting to uncoil from the time one is born, what implication do one's choices have on one's life? In La Machine infernale, as will be demonstrated, Cocteau implies that one's choices are limited, if they exist at all. This leads later to the question of responsibility in chapter four, in which the concept of liberty in La Machine infernale will be examined. [extract from Introduction]
Advisor: Dineen, Roy
Degree Name: Bachelor of Arts with Honours
Degree Discipline: French
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Dissertation
Physical description: 45 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm. "This Research Essay, prepared under the supervision of Dr Roy M. Dineen, is submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Otago for the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours in French." Thesis (B.A. (Hons.))--University of Otago, 1999. Includes bibliographical references.