English 117 Leonce and Lena

English 117 Leonce and Lena - Prison of Fate Buchner's...

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Prison of Fate: Buchner's Leonce and Lena The American humorist Robert Benchley once wrote that "there are [only] two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don't". In the play, Leonce and Lena , it becomes evident that Buchner is the kind of person who categorically divides the world into two groups. There are those of us who dogmatically believe in fate, and those of us who strike out into the world in hopes of determining our own future. For the first type of person, this fundamental difference in belief can cripple one's own sense of power in life. Many people will become disheartened that they cannot control their future and eventually begin to settle for what society has deemed their lot in life. Because of this, determinists trap themselves in a prison of doubt. This doubt is the disbelief in choice and the denial of freedom. Buchner detested the self- destructive view of fate so he used satire in Leonce and Lena to make a pained commentary on how the belief in fate is not only bad for the individual but also society. Like Robert Benchley, Buchner was a humorist and satirist by nature. Leonce and Lena is modeled after the comedia dell'arte theatre form, so it is easy to see how Buchner uses humor as a form of mockery. The old troupe-comedies often incorporated town gossip, and local problems that could be poked fun of. Because of this, these plays eventually became a running commentary on the state of local towns and soon developed into one of the earliest forms of satire. In
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