Class - 12 Unit 4 One-act Plays Guide : Chapter - 2 Facing Death Solution

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Class - 12

Unit 4 One-act Plays

Chapter - 2 Facing Death

August Strindberg


"Facing Death" is a play by Swedish playwright August Strindberg. The play revolves around the lives of two sisters, Laura and Anna, and their husbands, Adolph and Gustav, respectively. Adolph is suffering from a terminal illness and his impending death brings out the worst in each character. Laura is concerned about Adolph's death and tries to convince him to sign over his property to her before he dies. Gustav, on the other hand, is eager to claim the property for himself and convinces Adolph not to sign the document. The tension between the four characters continues to escalate, revealing deep-seated conflicts and revealing their true motives. The play deals with themes such as greed, betrayal, and the fear of death. Ultimately, Adolph dies, and the characters are left to grapple with the consequences of their actions.

Understanding the text

Answer the following questions.

a. Where does the play take place?

Answer 👉 The play takes place in the living room of Monsieur and Mrs. Duran's apartment.

b. Why do the grocery, the baker and the butcher send their bills to the Durand household?

Answer 👉 The grocery, the baker, and the butcher send their bills to the Durand household because they owe them money, and they need to pay off their debts.

c. Why does Monsieur Duran spend money on candles when he doesn’t have money to buy even bread?

Answer 👉  Monsieur Duran spends money on candles to light up the room as he finds it soothing and calming. He believes that the candles help him think better, which is important as he is working on a plan to solve their financial problems.

d. Why did Monsieur Duran sell his life insurance?

Answer 👉 Monsieur Duran sold his life insurance because he needed the money to pay off his debts.

e. Why has Monsieur Duran paid fire insurance?

Answer 👉 Monsieur Duran paid fire insurance to protect his property against fire damage.

f. How did Monsieur Duran and Mrs. Duran run out of their inheritances from both the sides? 

Answer 👉 Monsieur Duran and Mrs. Duran ran out of their inheritances from both sides because they spent the money on their lavish lifestyle and did not invest it wisely.

g. Why does Monsieur Duran tell a lie about his birthplace?

Answer 👉 Monsieur Duran tells a lie about his birthplace because he is ashamed of his humble origins and wants to present himself as a man of wealth and status.

h. What business is Monsieur Duran running to make a living?

Answer 👉 Monsieur Duran runs a small business of making artificial flowers to make a living.

i. What plan does Monsieur Duran have to help his daughters with money?

Answer 👉 Monsieur Duran plans to borrow money from his friend to invest in his business and hopes to make a profit so that he can help his daughters with money.

j. How does Monsieur Duran die?

Answer 👉  Monsieur Duran dies of a heart attack while he is alone in the room.

Reference to the context

a. Sketch the character of Monsieur Duran.

Answer 👉 Monsieur Duran is a middle-aged man who is facing financial difficulties. He is the head of the Durand family and is responsible for the financial well-being of his wife and two daughters. Monsieur Duran is a proud man who is unable to accept the fact that his family has lost its fortune. He is always trying to keep up appearances and maintain his social status, even when he is on the verge of bankruptcy. He is a sympathetic character who is torn between his pride and his responsibilities as a husband and a father.

b. How do we know that the Duran family has reached a dead end?

Answer 👉 The Duran family has reached a dead end because they are facing financial ruin. They have spent all their savings and have nothing left to sell or pawn. They are deep in debt and unable to pay their bills. The family has also lost its social status and is no longer part of the upper class. Monsieur Duran is unable to accept this reality and continues to live as if nothing has changed. The family is trapped in a situation where they are unable to move forward, and they have reached a dead end.

c. ‘The mother, though already dead, seems to have had a great influence on the daughters, especially Theresa.’ Do you agree?

Answer 👉  Yes, I agree that the mother had a great influence on the daughters, especially Theresa. Theresa is the most practical and level-headed of the two daughters, and she takes on the role of the mother after her death. She is responsible for the household and takes care of her father and sister. The mother's influence is also evident in the way the daughters interact with their father. They are respectful and obedient, and they try to help him in any way they can.

d. Discuss the relationship between Monsieur Duran and his wife.

Answer 👉 The relationship between Monsieur Duran and his wife is complicated. She is a dominating presence in the household, even though she is already dead. Monsieur Duran is haunted by her memory and is unable to let go. He talks to her as if she is still alive, and he is constantly reminded of her presence in the house. However, their relationship is also marked by tension and conflict. Monsieur Duran is resentful of his wife's influence, and he feels that she is responsible for their financial ruin.

e. ‘Money determines the relationship between characters in this play.’ Elaborate this statement with examples from the play.

Answer 👉 Money determines the relationship between characters in this play. Monsieur Duran's relationship with his creditors is based on his ability to pay his bills. The creditors are always sending bills and reminding him of his debts, which puts him under a great deal of pressure. His relationship with his family is also based on money. He is responsible for their financial well-being, and his inability to provide for them puts a strain on their relationship. The relationship between the sisters is also affected by money. Louise is jealous of her sister because she has a more expensive wardrobe, and Theresa is resentful of her sister because she is not as practical and responsible as she is.

f. Monsieur Duran kills himself so that his daughters would get 5000 francs as the compensation from the insurance company. What does his plan tell us about him?

Answer 👉 Monsieur Duran's plan to kill himself so that his daughters would get 5000 francs as compensation from the insurance company tells us that he is a desperate man. He is unable to provide for his family, and he feels that this is the only way to help them. His plan also shows us that he is a proud man who is unable to accept help from others. He would rather die than accept charity from his friends and family.

g. Discuss Facing Death as a modern tragedy

Answer 👉 Facing Death is a modern tragedy because it deals with universal themes such as pride, love, and family relationships. It is a tragedy because the Duran family is brought down by their financial difficulties, and they are unable to escape their fate. The play is also modern because it deals with issues that are still relevant today, such as the impact of money on relationships and the difficulties faced by the middle class. The play is a critique of the society in which it was written, and it raises important questions about the value of money and the nature of human relationships.

 Reference beyond the text

a. Write a few paragraphs describing the role of the father in the family. 

Answer 👉 The role of the father in a family has undergone a significant transformation over the years. Traditionally, the father was the head of the family, the breadwinner and the disciplinarian. His primary responsibility was to provide for his family, protect them and teach his children right from wrong. However, with changing times, the role of the father has evolved. Today, fathers are expected to be more involved in raising their children, be more nurturing and emotionally supportive. They are also expected to be equal partners in household chores and parenting. A father plays a critical role in shaping the personalities, values and overall development of his children.

b. In his famous essay “The Experimental Novel,” Emile Zola says:

Answer 👉 Zola's argument that human beings' intellectual and emotional capacities are determined by their environment and heredity holds some truth. In Facing Death, we can see the impact of the environment and heredity on the characters. Monsieur Duran's financial struggles can be attributed to the environment he lives in, the socio-economic conditions that he is subjected to. The family's financial situation has forced him to sell his life insurance, pay fire insurance, and borrow money from friends. Similarly, Theresa's desire to get married to someone rich reflects the impact of hereditary influences. She is driven by the desire for financial security and stability, a trait she might have inherited from her parents.

Furthermore, the characters' emotional states are also influenced by the environment they live in. For example, Madame Duran's death has a significant emotional impact on the family. Monsieur Duran is emotionally broken, and the daughters are left to deal with the loss of their mother. The loss of a parent can have a long-lasting impact on a child's emotional and mental health, and the same can be seen in Facing Death. Thus, Zola's argument that human beings' intellectual and emotional capacities are shaped by their environment and heredity holds true, and we can see the same in Facing Death.

All Class 12 English Book Solution Link Unitwise

Section I : Language Development

Section II : Literature
Unit - 1 Short Stories

Unit - 2 Poems

Unit - 3 Essays

Unit - 4 One Act Plays

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