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Liliom


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AT: The Daisy A: Ferenc Molnár Pf: 1909, Budapest Pb: 1909 Tr: 1921 G: Drama in 7 scenes and a prologue; Hungarian prose S: Budapest and ‘the Beyond’, early 20th c. C: 17m, 9f, extrasWhen Liliom (Andreas Zavocki), a swaggering fairground barker, fondles a naive servant girl Julie Zeller, he is sacked by the jealous carousel-owner. Although warned about Liliom by the police, Julie decides to stay with him. They marry and live with Julie's aunt. Though now out of work, Liliom continues to swagger about and even beats the ever patient Julie. Reluctantly, Liliom falls in with a friend's plan to steal money from a factory cashier, but the robbery goes wrong, and Liliom stabs himself rather than go to prison. Dying, he is carried back to Julie. Everyone assures her she is well rid of him, but she still loves him. Two men lead Liliom to the ‘Beyond’. He is sentenced by a celestial court to burn for 16 years to purge him of his pride. Allowed to return to earth for one day, he appears at Julie's house as a beggar. Invited in, he tells their daughter Lujza (Louise) that her father was a bully who hit her loving mother. Julie defends Liliom's memory and tells the old tramp to leave. When Liliom is rejected by his daughter, he slaps her hand, but she feels nothing. As Liliom is led away, Louise asks why the slap did not hurt. Her mother answers: ‘someone may beat you… and not hurt you at all’.

AT: The Daisy A: Ferenc Molnár Pf: 1909, Budapest Pb: 1909 Tr: 1921 G: Drama in 7 scenes and a prologue; Hungarian prose S: Budapest and ‘the Beyond’, early 20th c. C: 17m, 9f, extras

Allegedly based on an incident when Molnár had slapped his daughter, this internationally successful play suggests that, as with Solveig and Peer Gynt, love can overcome everything, from social prejudice to unprovoked violence. The play moves from the naturalism of the first five scenes to the surreal depiction of the hereafter. In 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein used the material for the musical Carousel.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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