The Bottomless Pit

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The Bottomless Pit – Woyzeck Essay, Research Paper Topic# 1: A commentator has remarked, ? Clearly Buchner considered that while social revolution might help the Woyzeck?s of the world, it could hardly save them?. Is Buchner?s vision of the world of Woyzeck essentially fatalistic, a dystopia from which there is no escape? Georg Buchner?s classic play ?Woyzeck?, unfinished, yet ahead of its time, has only this past century achieved notoriety for its visionary script and modernity. Buchner, a young radical of his time, intended this work to act as a social protest against the oppression and conditions of the impoverished. The work shows its audience the extreme tragedies that befall those trapped in poverty, those who have lost all hope, and therefore become acquiescent to

their environment, which in turn furthers their hardship. Despite the main characters? pleas for aid, and or spiritual intervention, they are trapped in their situations. Buchner offers no hope to them of any kind for redemption or salvation. Poverty is presented as a vicious cycle, one that destroys everything in its path. The obvious apocalyptic language and visions that Buchner employs in the play all stress the pessimism surrounding the characters, and the fatalistic and dystopic environment in which they are forced to survive. Woyzeck, the central protagonist, and his common law wife Marie, are left to the mercy of their society and manipulated by those around them. Characters like the Doctor, Captain, and Drum Major contribute to Woyzeck?s downfall, and the subsequent

murder of Marie: the Doctor treats Woyzeck like an animal and is completely unconnected to his reality, the Captain tries in vain to morally reform Woyzeck, a man whose hunger is first and foremost on his mind and not the condition of his morality, and finally, the Drum Major humiliates Woyzeck by seducing his wife, and later assaults him in front of his peers. All three men cannot possibly understand Woyzeck?s state of mind and situation, and disregard him in all his pain and suffering. They mock his humanity, and ignore him when he asks for answers to the questions that might have eased his troubled and irrational mind. The Captain plants the jealous seed of doubt and anger surrounding Marie?s infidelity in Woyzeck?s mind. The effect of this would not have been so successful if

Woyzeck had not been already so desperate, destitute, and verging on madness. Woyzeck explains his dire existence to the Captain in scene one of the play: Woyzeck: ?When you?re poor like us, sir?It?s the money, the money! If you haven?t got the money? I mean you can?t bring the likes of us into the world on decency. We?re flesh and blood too. Our kind doesn?t get a chance in this world or the next. If we go to heaven they?ll put us to work on the thunder? (Pp.108) Here one sees that Woyzeck believes that even if he made it to the eternal paradise of heaven, his suffering would still continue, as he would be made to work on the thunder along with the rest of the poor. Woyzeck perceives no glimpse of a better life or future for his family, and accepts his fate to live as a slave to

others. He allows the Doctor to perform weird and degrading experiments on him, such as placing him on a strict diet of only peas for three months, and he allows himself to be berated for relieving himself in the street. Woyzeck does all this just so he can earn a few measly dollars to support Marie and their child. There is no utopic blueprint in this play. Buchner does not create a new model for humanity, or for how poverty should be dealt with, he just shows it to us in all of its anguish. Woyzeck?s only escape from his pathetic life is his love for Marie. She is the only thing that he loves, and cherishes. Her affair with the Drum Major drives Woyzeck into insanity, and he ends up killing Marie, the only thing that kept him sane. Woyzeck says concerning self-control, that the