The Misunderstanding


Title: Misunderstanding

Author: Albert Camus

Translator: Khashayar Dihami

Publisher: Mahi

Subject: Plays

Age category: Adult

Cover: Paperback

Number of pages: 96 p

Language: Farsi

Categories: ,


Albert Camus’s The Misunderstanding has been translated into Persian by Khashayar Deihimi. This is a play written by Camus at the age of 28 at the beginning of World War II when France was under Nazi Germany.

In 1944, the play was first staged. Albert Camus was born in 1913 in Algeria. This militant writer had a poor childhood. Illness prevented him from passing his university exam in philosophy in 1937. He turned to journalism and drama writing. In 1938, in a book called “Aisha”, he consecrated it from his homeland with a glorious, poetic and emotional expression.

Misunderstanding, Albert Camus’s second play, takes place in an inn in the heart of Czechoslovakia, run by two women; An elderly mother and her daughter, Martha. At the beginning of the play, the two talk about the arrival of a new traveler who wants to give him medicine and drown him in the dam lake that night, just as they did with the passengers before him.

Although the identity of the passenger is obvious to the spectators, the old mother and her daughter do not follow him. He is originally the son of a girl’s mother and brother, who was the son of Velangar twenty years ago and left his home.
The misunderstanding is structurally a return to Greek theater: that dry state of the murder of two women, the deadly chain of crime that leads to another crime, murder within the family, the unstoppable and unadulterated development of the first intention, and the theme of recognition.

Albert Camus wrote the play “Misunderstanding” at the age of 28, at the beginning of World War II, when France was under German occupation, and first staged in 1944.

A mother and daughter have the only inn through which they live. The girl dreams of the sea and other cities and places, and to reach them, she takes her mother with her. From time to time, a traveler enters the inn as if he has used his destiny as a means to fulfill the girl’s wishes. Because he is killed at night by a mother and daughter to save his money for that important thing … This process continues until Jean – the son of this family, who left them twenty years ago – enters the house.

In fact, the misunderstanding is the life story of a man named “Jean” who, after twenty years away from his mother and sister, returns home while married and earns money to share his happiness with his mother and sister.
Upon entering the guesthouse run by his mother and sister, he realizes that after all these years, his family did not recognize him at the time of arrival. His wife asks him to go to them and easily say “I came”. Jean, who initially made the same decision, quits after his family’s cold treatment and tells his wife that he intends to continue and not introduce himself; But it is also disastrous for him to continue:

Yan: Twenty years have passed since then. I was very young at the time, almost a boy. The mother is old, her eyes can no longer see well. I hardly knew him myself.
Maria: (impatiently) Yes, I know. You came in, said “good morning”, then sat down and did nothing. Nothing was the same as before.

Yan: I do not know. There was nothing like the one I remembered. I do not have a good memory. Hello and peace and then silence. I ordered a beer to bring me. They watched but did not seem to see me. Everything was more difficult than I thought.

Maria: You know very well that it was not a problem at all. It was enough to talk. This is when someone says, “This is me, I’m back!” Then everything becomes normal again.

Yan: Yeah, but a lot of thoughts went through my mind. I was full of fantasy. You know, I kind of expected them to greet me – like welcoming a spending boy. But they gave me a drink and took his money. I was very upset and could not speak.

Maria: “It was enough to say one word.”

In misunderstandings, the scenes are very lively and motivating, and Camus’s mastery of detail is admirable, but it is not just masterful staging, but the content of the misunderstanding is not just a simple story or play, but the story of all people because our lives are full of misunderstandings.
The great people who have read this book believe that this play should be read with thinking and insight beyond a simple story, and each time it is read, a new world of awareness of the issues around it should be sought.

The book Misunderstanding is a play by Albert Camus, a famous French writer, philosopher and journalist who was born in 1913 in Algeria. The play premiered four weeks before the liberation of Paris, with Maria Casares (Albert Camus’s mistress) appearing as the brilliant “Martha.”

Despite the fact that many world-famous writers have included Albert Camus in the category of existentialists, he himself has always rejected it. Camus was the youngest author to win the Nobel Prize, and died a few years later in an accident in 1960. Describing Camus and his work for the Nobel Prize, the Nobel Institute writes:

For his important literary works that are accompanied by enlightenment and accurate listening to the problems of human conscience in our time.

In this play, Camus once again raises motives for murder, but critics of the play misunderstand it as a weak work that is not as large as a book. In the following, we will introduce the book Misunderstanding and examine the different aspects of the book.

Summary of the book Misunderstanding
The characters of the play, like other Camus stories, are introduced to the reader from the beginning and gradually. The mother is Martha, the daughter of the family, Jan (Jean) is the son of the family, and Maria is the wife of Jan. It goes without saying that the old maid also plays a short but almost influential role.

The story takes place in an inn run by a mother and daughter, who do strange and inhumane things to achieve their dreams of going to Africa and living in a better situation. Martha and her mother dream of living in a beach house somewhere in the bright sun.

In the meantime, the son of the family, who has been separated from them since childhood, decides to return and introduce himself to them, but in an indirect way; Because he thinks that his happiness depends on living with his mother and sister and meeting the needs of these two people. However, his wife opposes this and insists that her husband explicitly state from the beginning that he is the son of the family. This is exactly where the main part of the story comes from: Jean’s encounter with his family members and then the continuation of the story.

Iris Radish, author of Camus Arman Sadeghi, writes of the book Misunderstanding: “This drama is another moral experiment; How far does man go for money? “Every life centered on money is a kind of death,” Camus wrote in his memoirs.
This play, like other works by Camus, is very simple and engaging, and includes short and purposeful dialogues, and will be a good choice for those who hate long and fringe texts.

The first scene of the story begins in a small town in Czechoslovakia with a conversation between a mother and a daughter. In a part of the story, we see this conversation:
Martha: “Didn’t you teach me to care? “Does nothing matter to me?”
Mother: “Yes, but I have just realized that I was wrong, and in this world where nothing can be sure, some things are certain. “Today, the definite thing for me is a mother’s love for her son.”

The whole story is full of misunderstanding, deception, anger and hatred. The hatred that has been expressed in the most horrible way possible.

One of the best characters is the character of the mother of the family, who is tired and regrets what she has done, looking for an opportunity to end her life. And with the latest incident, this feeling peaks in him. He thinks that he has reached the end of the line, considers the cause of this tragic incident to be his own reward, and believes that his freedom has been taken away:

Oh! I have lost my freedom. Hell, this is where it all begins!

Regarding Martha’s dry, insensitive and angry character, it can be said that she is described in a way that does not make the reader feel hatred, because at the same time she is very loyal to her mother, and this shows a little feeling in her being, and at least in her mother. Martha, who is more thirsty for life on the sunny beach, is willing to do anything to earn the money she needs. The slogan “If a man is a man, he will not do it.” What Camus has heard from his father is also useless in this play. In the face of the emptiness of the world that forced her to kneel down and constantly ask for help, Martha could not rebel and live honorably. He has surrendered to a sunny dream and is ready to accept any shameful act.

Jan, too, has returned to his homeland after years away because he thinks one cannot remain a stranger all his life. But achieving peace where you do not belong is futile. As a reader at the end of the story, we may be challenged as to whether it was necessary for Jan to confront his family from the beginning. Maybe if we were, we would act like him.

Sentences from the text of the book Misunderstanding
Martha: Crime is a crime; One must have made his decision. I think you knew the answer from the moment you met the passenger.

Mother: No, I had not thought of that. I answered it out of habit.

Martha: Habit? But you know very well that such opportunities are rare.

Mother: Yes, of course. But the habit begins with the second crime. Nothing starts with the first. The first is the thing that ends. Then, as time goes by, opportunities are scattered and bridged between the years and their memories, which reinforces the habit.

Honestly, sometimes it calms me down that those who are ours did not suffer at all. It was difficult to call it a crime at all. Just a small intervention, a small flip on the lives of people we do not know. Yes, it turns out that life is much more cruel than ours. Maybe that’s why I can not feel guilty.

Ian: We did not seek happiness here. Happiness! Happiness! We have this.

Maria: (warmly) So why not be so convinced?
Yan: Happiness is not everything, and people have their responsibilities. My task is to find my mother again, my motherland…

No, men never know how to love, they do not know what love really is. No man really satisfies men. They are happy only with their dreams and fantasies, with their dreams and fantasies and with the tasks they do for themselves, by looking for new places, new homes, new home. But we women know that love does not know patience and expectation. A common place, a hand in hand and the fear of separation, the fear of being alone. That’s all love. A woman who does not think about anything else when she falls in love, does not dream.

Sometimes a feeling comes to you for a moment and you decide according to the feeling of that moment, but then the feeling changes and you change your mind and everything goes back to Josh.

Mother: I have not hugged you for a long time, because I had completely forgotten to open my arms to you. But I always loved you. I understand this now, because my heart has just begun to speak. Life is just beginning for me when I can no longer bear to live.

Martha: But what could be stronger than your daughter’s misery and despair?
Mother: Maybe tiredness, and a thirst for peace.

Go to the door of God and pray that he will stone you. This is the only true happiness. That is why he kept this happiness for himself. You also beat yourself up in front of all the screams you hear. Stone yourself as much as possible.

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