Fate of a cockroach Summary as a Farce and existential drama
The book is divided into three acts, the first act talks about what happens in the cockroach kingdom, the second and third shows the human reality and how it contrast that of the cockroach, the writer then drag the plot to make the animal character suit with that of human despite they are not even alike in any respect.
As to the first act, by this, the writer makes use of farce to depict to the reading audience, the actual happenings when it comes to human life. farce, a comic dramatic piece that uses highly improbable situations, stereotyped characters, extravagant exaggeration, and violent horseplay. This is that there are many element of exaggerated situation that bring about absurdity in the play. Through the animal representation of absurdity of human living and long life pursuit of chasing existential things, man later become victim of what he feared the most, Death.
The Cockroach kingdom was soon revealed to us that in reality it’s a setting underneath a bathtub of two living couples, Adil and Samiat, who the writer contracts their act with that of the cockroach in some respect and this include “men domination” in cockroach world and “women domination”in actual world, Adil and Samiat who lived together and work In an oil, paint factory. The writer shows that there is an element of patriarchal ideology with the cockroach world with the king being pompous and rude and believed in some respect he could toss around the titular queen-cockroach, who was named by the king even though she does not have that enforcing-authority which makes a monarch.
On the other hand, the human world is that which features female dominance as exemplified through the way Samiat toss Adil around every now and then pulling woman strings on him to her advantage every now and then, she chanced him to the bathroom and lock the door, she asked him to arrange her cloth despite he’d be on a sick leave from work, she even believed she has a more modified character than the man and that he is not sufficient a man when it comes to character and act so, she sees her husband as the weaker vessel, meanwhile, Adil, who is an educated fellow allows things slide on some grounds that woman are meant to behave in that respect, and whatever samia is doing is a woman doing normals. He wasn’t moved after Adil has tried to show kindness to him upon the advise of the doctor who thought Adil was suffering from a mental disease. He instantly realized the flowery word that Samia used in describing the whisker of the cockroach does not reflect the amount of compassion she (Samia) will naturally show, after getting being advice by the doctor on how ‘relational therapy’ can work on a patient being obsessed about a particular situation.
Adil is so obsessed by the situation of the cockroach, it’s tenacity in trying to survive of getting out of the bathtub and how pitiful it is to be in such situation. Samiat tries to relate with the situation and obsession of her husband, but he soon realized that it was a trick to lure him away from the experimentation of the cockroach scene at the bathtub
The cockroach through out the first act of the play tries all they could in their power to find solution to the problem of ant attacking them at every slip, but not only that the king-cockroach, who with is disciples are finding a solution, fall victim alone but also, die in the hand of the house maid, Attiya, the house maid of Adil and Samiat, Who struck it out of the bathtub after she already opened the water into it. Due to the weakness of the cockroach-king he could not survive the attack of the ants. This came after many struggle that the king-cockroach has attempted to move out of the bathtub where he fell after trying to check what goes on in the shinning wall as supposed by the savant. The struggle after the cockroach fell and many attempt to move out metaphorically represent the incessant struggle of human with mundane of life and how it makes human becomes frail and nothing but a debilitating dying person who finally meet an unfavorable end at the end of the struggle tunnel.
The element of farce is well portrayed in the novel, this is in line with allegorical element which tells the inner meaning of the animal character. The savant representing humans who scientifically explain every human plight, disease, infection, health problem, reason for cause and effect. The character of savant is allegorically portrayed has an unbelievable who believed that there are reasons understandable to man why every happenings happened. However his scientific ideology soon realize to not be sufficient in solving the problem of the cockroach. Another allegorical representation is that of King cockroach and Minister who are believed to be politically constructed, the minister especially, believe that the problem is political and they have to devise army just like the ant to sort the issue of the ant attack.
The Priest also has his ways of using religion to explain every happenings, the death of the minister’s son. He console the minister and beliefs that the best way to resolve the issue of the ant is by making a sacrifice to the gods. He (priest) instead of subscribing to the idea of savant, he believes that there are some concept and problem which can never be scientifically explained and the existence of a realm beyond that of human is more reason behind it. The king even observed that the past sacrifice has not yielded anything and that religion is not the best solution to every problem, humans only sort it to explain or to seek solace in hard times and justification to be optimistic.
As to existentialism in the play, Tewfik Al-Hakim use the play to describe how human are main cause of their fortune and problem and neither is any person life predetermined or there is a structure towards which an individual is destined to leave. Existentialism is the philosophical belief that we are each responsible for creating purpose or meaning in our own lives. Our individual purpose and meaning is not given to us by Gods, governments, teachers or other authorities.
These are well exemplified in instances like;
If the cockroach never go on experimentation to the shinning wall (the bathtub) to see the water that is in the wall hall in the day and how it dries out at night, he wouldn’t have meet his unfortunate death, also if he hasn’t declared himself as king (personal declaration), he wouldn’t have taken responsibility as a political Saviour which lead to his experimentation at the edge of the bathtub, which he subsequently fall into the bathtub water and later to his death.
Another is not facing reality on the face of it, savant explains every situations using scientific notions, priest explains the issues of the ant analyzing that they needed more sacrifice, meanwhile, they forget that human fortune is determined by his actions and inactions. All these are element of existential novel which affect and improve the plot of the play