‘Characterisation’ and ‘character list’ in Fate of a Cockroach by Tawfik-al-Hakims

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  1. King

The king is pompous and arrogant misogynistic cockroach that believes fairly well in the principle of being a leader without wanting to take responsibility for no one. The dramatist portrays the cockroach king as a proud fellow who happens to believe he is the king due to his long whiskers only. Aside such, he truly does not portray a leadership trait and has been challenge in different instance to take responsibility as to the issue of ants attacking the cockroach just at the very slip that had a cockroach ‘fell on its back’. The dramatist showed his character as that which want respect at all cost but at every slight of proving the need for such respect, all he has to offer was that he has a long whisker that the other cockroaches. With the use of humour employed by the dramatist, the reading audience understand through the character of the queen cockroach that he doesn’t really fend for no one, not even the queen, and the authority he command was only agreed on when the other cockroach told him, you can call yourself king or whatever pleases you, so far ‘it doesn’t affect us. It is seen that his kingship is rather titular rather than command real respect. He only has few loyalists who are other dummies who can’t really think for themselves and this include Minister, Savant, Priest


2. Queen

The Queen Cockroach is portrayed as a feministic character who is at all cost ready to counter every misogynistic claims of the king. She is portrayed to the audience as one with large sense of humour, making sarcastic moves on claim of the king and how irresponsible he believed him to be. Act one titled ‘The Cockroach as king’ opened with the two arguing after the king cockroach have tried to wake her up and challenged her as being lazy. Funny remarks and replies were characteristic of the queen cockroach. He challenged the assertion of the king cockroach when he pompously said ‘I am King’, she replied ‘I’m exactly same as you’. When the king stated what makes him special was his whisker, the queen replied ‘Hah! Just as you have whiskers, so have I’ and it’s your sick imagination that always makes it appear that there exists some difference between us. Despite her ability to fight for her space and being character of equality, the dramatist conveys to the reading audience that she can still be respectful. Instances when the minister appeared in act 1, she instantly comports herself not to disrespect the proudful king in front of the saddened minister however, she still mentions there to the king that ‘kings like you are submissive only to subjects who learn to maintain their right’. The character of the queen is also seen as a companionate one and wants to find solution to the forever-fated problem of the ant attacking the cockroach. She even encouraged the king and the minister to attack the ants as they were carrying off the dead son of the minister as food to their holes (ants home). When the men could afford to do nothing, she almost attacks the army of ants, who were chanting their war songs which cannot be understood by the ant. however, was advised otherwise by the king and the other in that scene. Her character is feministic and humorous depicting character of criticism which exposes the shortcoming of other characters.

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3. Minister

The Ministers character is that of a harbinger of sad news, he appeared in act 1 of the play with the sad news of his dying son who fell of the forbidden wall that overlooks ‘the great carven’ which is just a stroll for amusement’s sake of any cockroach of such age. According to savant, he and the king cockroach are believed to be the one to solve the issue of the ant as it is a political problem that affect the entirety. He’s seen not as a confident character as he was only wanting consolation rather that practical solution to what has befall his son. He believes that the same weapon used by the ant when they attack in army should be used by the cockroach too, however it was soon realized it wasn’t such brilliant idea. The king believed that the minister’s idea on teaching the cockroach to walk in columns like the ant was the minister rendering scientific solution to a problem as old as age. His character was such that even after the queen attempted to attack the army of ants, he was just there doing nothing. He was equally even encouraged alongside the king by the queen to attack the army of ant which he didn’t. He instead justifies that his job is not to fight wars. At sometimes, he suggested the king should organise an army of cockroach just like that of the ant, which the king calls a stupid idea because in the entirety of the cockroach kingdom they have never seen gathered in numbers, the savant however mentioned that the once he has seen in his life time was that where few cockroaches came together on one piece of tomatoes. Cockroach do not gather together because if they do, most especially where here is dazzling light it’s in due time before trampling feet starts to hit on them (human being legs, who are mostly full of disgust of seeing bunch of cockroaches gathered together).

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4. Savant

Appeared first in the scene where the king, queen and minister were deliberating on the fate that has befall the minister son and how they can find a long-lasting solution to the ant problem. He came in believing that it is the responsibility of both the minister and the king to solve the problem.

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